FEMA Wraps Up Flood Assessments

By KBJR News 1

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

Duluth, MN (Northlands NewsCenters)
-- FEMA agents spent today assessing some of the hardest hit counties in last weeks historic flood.

State and Federal Agencies toured St. Louis and Carlton Counties, and the Fond du lac Indian Reservation, among other areas Thursday. Regional leaders say they're confident most Northland areas will receive Federal Disaster Funds.

The FEMA dollars it would go to things like washed out roads and bridges.

In Duluth alone there's an estimated 30 million dollars in road and bridge damage. City and County officials say they desperately need Federal help.

Thursday, City Crews were cleaning up a section of Vermilion Road.

Days ago this stretch of city street was unrecognizable; destroyed by flooding and it's by far not the only affected piece of Duluth infrastructure.

"We have over 400, what we're calling project sites. 400 different items that we have to go and repair," said City Administrative Officer David Montgomery.

Along with a tangible damage estimate of 50 Million Dollars, City Officials say the regional has suffered a major set-back to its lucrative tourism industry.

"The tourism impact, the impact on our trails, we are known as the trail city, in impact on the businesses in the community," said Montgomery.

"The area that was impacted for us was over 3,000 square miles," St. Louis County Administrator Kevin Gray said in Duluth Thursday.

Overall St. Louis County's large area of flood damage tops more than 25 million dollars.

"The magnitude and suddenness of this impact makes this very important to have this documentation to position us from federal funds," said Gray.

"So the expenses that have been incurred in the counties and municipalities will incur will be reimbursed under the federal guidelines," said Bruce Gordan, Director of Communications at the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.

State officials believe with the damage extending over 13 Northland counties there will certainly be some federal assistance if only the president declares a federal disaster.

"The Governor will forward it on to the President, the president will then determine if we're eligible for a disaster declaration," said Gordan.

It should be two to three weeks before the Northland is notified.

Road repair is moving quickly in Duluth and in St. Louis County. Officials say they've already reopened 72 roads in St. Louis County.

Zach Vavricka

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