<< All News Monday, January 29, 2024 - 02:40pm

BISMARCK, N.D. Gov. Doug Burgum has requested a presidential major disaster declaration for a severe winter ice storm that caused more than $11.5 million in estimated damage over the Christmas holiday. The request follows an executive order Burgum issued Dec. 29 declaring a statewide emergency for infrastructure damage.

In a letter directed to President Joe Biden through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Burgum requested a major disaster be declared for the period of Dec. 25-27 for 13 counties: Barnes, Cass, Dickey, Grant, LaMoure, Logan, McIntosh, Ransom, Richland, Sargent, Steele, Stutsman and Traill. The counties of Burleigh, Grand Forks, Griggs, Kidder and Wells were also impacted by the event but didn’t sustain enough damage to exceed the per-capita threshold for being included in the declaration request.

Freezing rain and winds in excess of 40 mph combined to destroy more than 2,000 power poles and forced the closure of major highways and other roads due to life-threatening conditions.

“This was the worst ice storm since 1997 for much of eastern North Dakota, bringing the region to a standstill over the Christmas holiday, causing enormous damage to utility infrastructure and knocking out power to more than 20,000 residents, including some who went without electricity for more than 10 days,” Burgum said. “We appreciate the consideration of this major disaster request and are grateful for the utility crews and linemen from across the region who helped to restore power, as well as for the state and local emergency management teams, road crews, first responders, health care workers and others who worked together to ensure the safety of all North Dakotans during this historic event.”

If granted, a presidential declaration would unlock FEMA public assistance to help pay for the costs of repairing damaged infrastructure. 

In addition, Burgum also is asking that the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program be implemented on a statewide basis to help communities pay for projects that increase resiliency and reduce costs in the long run.


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