Houston County gets federal disaster declaration

Houston County and the townships within it can breath a small sigh of relief after President Barack Obama opened the door for federal disaster assistance on July 25.

The president declared a major disaster exists in the state of Minnesota and ordered federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the area affected by severe storms, straight-line winds and flooding during the period of June 20 through 26.

Counties included in the declaration are: Benton, Big Stone, Douglas, Faribault, Fillmore, Freeborn, Grant, Hennepin, Houston, McLeod, Morrison, Pope, Sibley, Stearns, Stevens, Swift, Traverse and Wilkin.

U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken and Representatives Collin Peterson, Michele Bachmann, Keith Ellison, Tim Walz, Erik Paulsen and Rick Nolan lobbied for the relief.

“The severe storms this June led to high winds and flash flooding in 18 counties in Minnesota, causing extensive damage to roads, culverts and bridges,” the members said. “The president’s disaster declaration will help the communities impacted by these storms remove debris and repair critical infrastructure.”

Damage estimates across the state are in the $17.8 million range.