Gov. Tim Walz has authorized state disaster assistance for Dakota and Pope counties for damage sustained from spring flooding between March 12 to April 28 and for Murray, Pipestone, Rock, and Traverse counties for damage sustained from severe thunderstorms between Sept. 10-15.

This authorization by the governor allows the State Disaster Assistance Contingency Account to reimburse communities for 75% of eligible costs. Local governments will cover the remaining 25% of eligible costs.

“It’s our responsibility to help our neighbors recover in the face of devastating weather events,” Walz stated in a news release. “This year we’ve seen unprecedented weather events tear through our state. Even though some of these events happened months ago, communities continue to struggle with damage to their infrastructure and local economy. That’s why we’re authorizing the use of state disaster assistance to aid in recovery efforts and help Minnesotans return to normal.”

Dakota and Pope counties were not designated in the federal disaster declaration issued by the president on June 12. During the initial local damage assessment process, neither county met the threshold for assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and they were not included in the local/state/FEMA preliminary damage assessment. After the federal disaster designation, both counties uncovered damage costs that would have been qualifying, but federal assistance was denied due to the 30-day deadline.

Murray, Pipestone, Rock, and Traverse counties were impacted by a series of severe thunderstorms from Sept.10-15, that produced very heavy rainfalls and flooding, conditions exacerbated by previous spring flooding and summer rains. The county boards of commissioners declared local emergencies and submitted requests for state disaster assistance to aid in recovery.