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SD Requests $46 Million to Recover from Weather Woes

South Dakota says it needs $46 million in federal disaster-relief funds to recover from severe winter and spring weather that affected virtually every part of the state. (fema.gov)
South Dakota says it needs $46 million in federal disaster-relief funds to recover from severe winter and spring weather that affected virtually every part of the state. (fema.gov)
May 24, 2019

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – South Dakota is asking for a federal emergency declaration that would include $46 million to repair homes, businesses and infrastructure destroyed by extreme winter weather and spring floods along several rivers.

Gov. Kristi Noem sent a letter to President Donald Trump this week asking for the recovery funds. Lynn Kimbrough, external affairs specialist with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, says representatives spent several weeks in South Dakota this month creating a preliminary assessment.

"Everything from putting monetary estimates on the damage, including an economic impact, the impact on public health and public safety," says Kimbrough.

In her letter, the governor noted that city wastewater-treatment plants were overwhelmed from high water, and highways – ranging from the interstates to county roads – were damaged by both snow and water.

The governor said preliminary assessments indicate public infrastructure damage of about $43 million, across 58 counties and three reservations. Another $3 million was requested for individual assistance in 16 counties and on the reservations.

Kimbrough says FEMA has worked on recovery assessments in multiple areas of the state.

"Some of the counties and tribal reservations were hit with both a combination of damage that affected individuals and residential homes," says Kimbrough. "And so, we have been working with to help them prepare, talking to them about how to best capture the damage".

Pine Ridge reservation, which sustained severe damage from flooding in March isn't part of Noem's request for assistance, because the tribe is independently pursuing its own emergency declaration and FEMA request.

Weather-wise, South Dakota hasn't gotten much of a break since April, with Rapid City reporting 22 inches of snow this week.

Roz Brown, Public News Service - SD