MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The state Department of Public Safety announced Wednesday that one of its top officials has asked FEMA to conduct a damage assessment after last week’s ice storm toppled trees and power lines in southwestern Minnesota.

The request, made by Kris Eide, would include preliminary damage assessments in the counties of Cottonwood, Jackson, Murray, Nobles and Rock to see if they qualify for the Public Assistance Program.

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These assessments would be the first step in determining if Gov. Mark Dayton would make a request for a presidential declaration of disaster.

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According to the Public Safety Department, if FEMA conducts a primary damage assessment and finds the damage surpasses the threshold of $7.266 million statewide, the governor may prepare a letter to send to President Barack Obama.

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If the Public Assistance Program is granted in Minnesota, it would provide assistance to local governments and certain nonprofits for emergency work in the disaster area. Assistance would be given to replace damaged facilities, and to prevent long-term risk from natural hazards, a press release said.