• 64°

Gov. Walz requests disaster declaration for Minnesota storms

ST. PAUL — Gov. Tim Walz is seeking a presidential disaster declaration for spring storms that caused nearly $40 million in damage to infrastructure across Minnesota.

Walz requested the federal aid in a letter Tuesday to President Donald Trump. In the letter, the governor says, “The transition from winter to spring in Minnesota was exceptionally difficult this year,” and that the state needs federal help “to recover from this major natural disaster.”

Walz requested the declaration for 51 Minnesota counties, including Mower County, and four tribal governments. Officials say flooding, blizzards and strong winds from mid-March to late April caused damage totaling $39 million — well above the $8 million threshold required for a federal declaration.

According to Mower County Emergency Management Coordinator Amy Lammey, the April 10-13 ice storm caused the most damage in Mower County.

“Our preliminary number is about $1.5 million in damage,” she said. “That number could change if more damage is found.”

Lammey explained that the funding amount is determined per capita. Mower County’s per capita damage is about $39 per person.

Lammey said the damage amount was higher in Freeborn County, while Steele County had a lower total.

“We’re in the middle of the road when it comes to damages,” she said.

If granted by Trump, the declaration would reimburse communities for removing debris as well as repairing and replacing damaged infrastructure.

In Mower County, the cost was not only in damage to publicly owned downed power lines, but also in overtime to county staff and deputies that manned roadblocks near downed power lines.

“It was just a bad end of winter,” Lammey said.

— Michael Stoll contributed to this article