BISMARCK, N.D. – President Donald Trump has approved Gov. Doug Burgum’s request for a presidential major disaster declaration for the impacts of an October storm that dumped heavy rain and snow on a large swath of North Dakota and caused up to $9.7 million in damage to public infrastructure, according to preliminary assessments.
The declaration covers 16 counties: Barnes, Eddy, Foster, Grand Forks, Griggs, Kidder, LaMoure, Logan, Mountrail, Nelson, Sargent, Sheridan, Stutsman, Traill, Walsh and Wells. A copy of Burgum’s Dec. 13 request letter and supplemental materials can be viewed here.
The presidential declaration unlocks public assistance through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to help cities, counties and townships pay for the costs of repairing roads and other infrastructure damaged by the October storm and flooding.
“This declaration will provide critical relief to local governments that incurred substantial costs from the historic early October rain and snowstorm,” Burgum said. “We’re deeply grateful to President Trump and FEMA for granting our request and making assistance available as our local jurisdictions continue to recover from an unprecedented wet fall and prepare for potential spring flooding.”
The period from August to October was North Dakota’s wettest in 125 years of recordkeeping, and it came after spring flooding and a severe summer drought.
“The cost of three disasters this year adds to the financial burden of jurisdictions that have depleted their road and emergency fund budgets,” Burgum stated in the request letter. “Local public works and contractor crews have been struggling to keep up with repairs after sites that had been fixed this spring were once again inundated by fall flooding.”
In addition to the public assistance, President Trump also granted Burgum’s request that the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program be implemented on a statewide basis to help communities pay for flood mitigation projects that increase resiliency and reduce costs in the long run.
This is the second presidential disaster declaration granted for North Dakota for events in 2019. President Trump and FEMA granted Burgum’s request for a presidential disaster declaration in June in response to spring flooding in 19 North Dakota counties. In November, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue also approved Burgum’s request for a secretarial disaster designation for 47 of North Dakota’s 53 counties, triggering the federal Emergency Farm Loan Program and Economic Injury Loan Program for farm-related business.