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Fillmore County Flood Damage Update

Fri, Jul 12th, 2013
Posted in All Home & Garden

Collapsed MN Hwy #43 bridge in Choice is one of many spots that needs to be fixed. Photo submitted

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Minnesota Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM) officials visited Fillmore County on Wednesday, July 10, 2013. At the end of the day, they agreed that preliminary public infrastructure damage estimates of $2.6 million by local officials were very close to the FEMA estimates. Federal and state representatives met with city, township and county officials to obtain additional information to support a multi-county request for federal assistance for flood damage from the storm event that began Thursday, June 20, 2013. Representatives from United States Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken offices were also present to support a possible request to Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton to petition President Obama for a disaster declaration for Minnesota counties.

Kevin Beck, Fillmore County Emergency Manager, had previously contacted local government officials to assemble documentation needed for this meeting. Wednesday’s meeting presented an opportunity for local officials to meet with FEMA officials on an individual basis to conduct preliminary verification of flood damage estimates. City, township and county officials provided contractor estimates, pictures of damaged property and anecdotal information about the impact of the flooding on their respective communities.

Wayne Lamoreaux, HSEM Engineering Specialist, told those present that HSEM and FEMA officials are doing similar damage assessments in 16 other counties in Minnesota to determine whether Minnesota will be eligible for a major disaster declaration. Lamoreaux also said that HSEM and FEMA agencies are committed to helping communities receive all federal and state funding for which they are eligible.

In response to questions about timelines, Lamoreaux said that any estimated timeline is contingent on obtaining the Presidential declaration and also on FEMA staff availability. Citing historical references to timelines for other recent national disasters, he estimated that if both local and Minnesota thresholds are met and a Presidential declaration is made that FEMA crews could be back in the area near the end of July or early August.

Later in the day, FEMA and HSEM representatives were given a tour of the flood damaged roads, bridges and other damaged public property in Fillmore County. Officials viewed road damage and washed out bridges in Carrolton, Holt and Norway townships as well as damages in both the cities of Mabel and Canton. Other flood damaged sites visited included the bridge on Minnesota Highway 43 in Choice.

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