Disaster assistance available
Federal disaster assistance has been made available to the state of North Dakota to supplement state, tribal and local recovery efforts in the areas affected by the severe winter storm and flooding April 22-May 25, according to information from FEMA.
Public assistance federal funding is available to the state, tribal and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency protective measures, including direct federal assistance under public assistance, in Adams, Barnes, Billings, Bottineau, Burke, Cavalier, Dickey, Divide, Dunn, Foster, Golden Valley, Grand Forks, Grant, Griggs, Hettinger, Kidder, LaMoure, Logan, McHenry, McIntosh, McKenzie, McLean, Mountrail, Nelson, Oliver, Pembina, Ramsey, Ransom, Renville, Richland, Rolette, Sargent, Steele, Stutsman, Towner, Traill, Walsh, Ward, Wells and Williams counties.
Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide.
According to Gov. Doug Burgum’s office, the severe weather caused damage to infrastructure including roads, bridges and railways and threatened the stability of flood control structures including the Bourbanis Dam near Cavalier, where North Dakota National Guard Black Hawk helicopters placed 213 one-ton sandbags to stabilize areas of concern around the dam. Strong winds and ice buildup from freezing rain led to the collapse of 7,000 utility poles and at least 550 miles of damage to electric infrastructure, leaving households in western North Dakota without power for up to three and a half weeks.
Infrastructure damage is currently estimated at more than $57 million, with that number expected to climb once all damaged sites are tallied. Burgum previously declared a statewide emergency for the April 22-24 storm, which caused major damage to electric grid infrastructure in western North Dakota and kickstarted the flooding that impacted the eastern half of North Dakota for the following 30 days. The storm was preceded by an April 12-14 blizzard that dumped more than 30 inches of snow on some areas and was exacerbated by a third storm April 29-30 that dumped record rainfall. April 2022 was the second wettest April on record in North Dakota.
Last month, Senators John Hoeven and Kevin Cramer and Congressman Kelly Armstrong had urged for the declaration’s approval, stressing that repeated storms resulted in significant damages, power outages and flooding, which impacted the state through April and May.
“North Dakota saw unprecedented levels of precipitation this spring in the forms of heavy downpours, snowfall, sleet and freezing rain,” said the congressional delegation in a joint statement. “These storms had significant and widespread impact, causing long-lasting flooding and power outages. That’s why we worked with Governor Burgum to advance this disaster declaration, which will help cover the costs of recovery, while making resources available to improve resiliency in the long-term.”
“We appreciate President Biden and FEMA granting our request and recognizing the incredible hardship that this combination of severe storms and flooding caused for our farmers and ranchers, communities, local governments and first responders,” said Burgum in a statement. “This presidential disaster declaration will unlock FEMA public assistance to help our local governments, agencies and communities recover from extensive infrastructure damage and make resources available to help build resiliency against the long-term risk of future flooding. We’re also grateful to the Minnesota National Guard for its valuable assistance with flood-fighting capabilities under the Emergency Management Assistance Compact.”
Alana Khun has been named as the federal coordinating officer for federal recovery operations in the affected area. Additional designations may be made at a later date if requested by the state and warranted by the results of further assessments.