MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Gov. Mark Dayton visited the southernmost parts of Minnesota Friday afternoon. Areas like Rock County are flooded and damaged after massive amounts of rain fell during the week.
Early damage estimates in Rock County are at $3.5 million and the county is 40 percent under water.
The Metropolitan Airports Commission deployed a floodwall at the St. Paul Downtown Airport in preparation of possible flooding along the Mississippi River.
Dayton and state officials plan to assess the damage across the state in the coming weeks, after the flood waters recede.
“It’s hard to see these tragic situations where people are afraid of losing their homes and not being covered by private insurance, but there is a lot we can do and we are going to help,” Dayton said.
Dayton plans to ask President Obama for a Major Disaster Declaration in the coming weeks.
If granted, the federal government would reimburse Minnesotan cities for damage and repairs to public entities like roads and water treatment plants.
To qualify, a state must see $7.4 million in damage from a natural disaster; Dayton said Minnesota will far surpass that amount, making the request a near certainty.
The president gets a recommendation from FEMA to proceed with such a declaration for long-term relief. Until any assessments are made, local governments will have to pay for costs of damage repairs and manpower to rebuild, all while hoping for reimbursement down the line.
Dayton was joined by U.S. Senators Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar and U.S. Rep. Tim Walz on a tour of the damage.