FEMA Tours Northlands Flood Damage

By KBJR News 1

July 2, 2012 Updated Jul 2, 2012 at 1:54 PM CDT

Two Harbors, MN (Northlands NewsCenter)
-- FEMA is on the ground, inspecting the Northlands roads, bridges, and public utilities Wednesday.

FEMA agents teamed up with Minnesota's Homeland Security and Emergency Management team and other federal agencies to assess the level of damage from last week's flood, in the hopes of getting some Federal financial aid.

One of the group's first stops was Lake County. Some of Lake County's roads have crumbled completely in the wake of the flood.

"The rest of your budget would be completely shot if we had to pay for it out of our day to day budget reserves," said Al Goodman, the Lake County Highway Engineer.

More damage to the area's hiking trails but most of the trail damage is isolated south of Gooseberry Falls.

"We do have three major bridges out...the encampment river, crow creek, and the sucker river," said Executive Director of the Superior Hiking Trail Association Gayle Coyer.

Lake County leaders are hoping they get some help.

"If we have the availability to do so, we are going to be applying for FEMA money," said Coyer.

"We are looking to return the damaged facilities back to pre-disaster conditions, that's what's eligible for the disaster assistance program," said Bill Hirte with the Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency. .

FEMA and state officials will compile all the damage in Lake County, then apply a dollar value, and hand the report over to Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton, who will decide whether to forward it to President Obama who could then declare a federal disaster for each of the impacted counties.

"Of the 13 we have preliminary information on, the majority of them, we are pretty confident," said Hirte.

The process usually takes two to three weeks and each of the counties must exceed 7.1 Million Dollars in damage for possible FEMA funding.

Thursday FEMA will be in St. Louis and Carlton Counties assessing the damage there. The FEMA tour is expected to wrap up on Friday

Zach Vavricka

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