FEMA officials to survey flood damageby Tom Robertson, Minnesota Public Radio
DULUTH, Minn. — Officials with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the state emergency management office are surveying storm and flood damage in Lake, Aitkin, Goodhue and Meeker counties today.
Four FEMA teams are gathering preliminary damage assessments of roads, bridges and other public infrastructure.
"The goal here is to gather the information in this area of the damages that occurred, apply a dollar value to it, qualify this county to be included in our request to the president for a presidential declaration for disaster for the state of Minnesota," said Bill Hirte with the state office of Homeland Security and Emerency Management and part of the team accessing Lake County in Two Harbors.
FEMA will visit 13 counties and the Fond du Lac Indian Reservation this week. The assessments are expected to be completed by Friday and forwarded to Gov. Mark Dayton, who then is expected to request a federal disaster declaration.
Early estimates show Lake County alone has about $1.8 million in damages, mostly to roads and bridges.
"The assessment is put together in a write-up in our region and from there it goes to the state for their review and then further on to see if this does become a disaster, said FEMA project officer Larry Duke, who was in Two Harbors to assess damage in Lake County.
BJ Kohlstedt , an emergency management director in Lake County, said she has been satisfied with the federal response so far.
"I think it's gone very well... All of the jurisdictions have known about this for a few days and have been busy driving around, getting locations, pictures before, pictures after if we had to repair them for public safety, GPS coordinates and descriptions of human impact," Kohlstedt said.