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Delegation urges President Obama to declare a major disaster in South Dakota counties

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storm damage
storm damage

WASHINGTON, D.C. (KELO-AM) U.S. Representative Kristi Noem (R-South Dakota) and U.S. Senators Tim Johnson (D-South Dakota) and John Thune (R-South Dakota) today sent a letter to President Barack Obama requesting he declare a major disaster for Jerauld, Lincoln, and Union counties in South Dakota. The delegation’s letter also requests that the president instruct federal agencies to expedite the delivery of all forms of federal disaster assistance for which the state is eligible.

The delegation writes, “We write to express our full support of Governor Dennis Daugaard’s request for a major disaster declaration covering Jerauld, Lincoln, and Union counties in South Dakota….  These storms led to a widespread impact on public and private infrastructure in the three counties in question…. In light of this damage, and given that the State has responded to four Presidential disaster declarations in the last year, the state and local resources would be under significant stress without federal assistance.”

In the weeks following the storm damage, Rep. Noem and Sens. Johnson and Thune each visited the impacted areas, meeting with families and community officials and surveying the damage firsthand. On July 2, South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard filed a request that the president declare a major disaster as a result of the summer storms. The delegation’s letter offering support for that request follows:

July 3, 2014

The Honorable Barack ObamaPresident of the United StatesThe White House1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NWWashington, DC 20500 

Dear President Obama,

As members of the South Dakota Congressional delegation, we write to express our full support of Governor Dennis Daugaard’s request for a major disaster declaration covering Jerauld, Lincoln, and Union Counties in South Dakota. This declaration would greatly assist in recovery efforts from significant weather events that affected South Dakota from June 13, 2014 through June 20, 2014.

The Governor’s disaster declaration request explains that several storm formations resulted in hail, high winds, tornadoes, excessive rainfall, flooding, and lightning. In the southeastern part of the state, excessive rainfall led to flash flooding of streets and small creeks, as well as major flooding along the Big Sioux River. In addition, several tornadoes occurred throughout South Dakota, including an EF-4 tornado with winds between 166-200 mph near Alpena in Jerauld County. It is estimated that six tornadoes formed in Jerauld County alone, and 12 occurred throughout the state.

These storms led to a widespread impact on public and private infrastructure in the three counties in question. Along with the flood damage to individual homes, county, and city governments continue to examine the toll this event had on roads, culverts, bridges, and railroads in Union and Lincoln Counties. In addition, Wessington Springs in Jerauld County saw fourteen percent of the homes in the town receive some level of damage, including seven percent that were destroyed. In light of this damage, and given that the State has responded to four Presidential disaster declarations in the last year, the state and local resources would be under significant stress without federal assistance.

We respectfully request that you declare a major disaster for relevant areas of our state and that you instruct federal agencies to expedite the delivery of all forms of federal disaster assistance for which the state is eligible based upon that declaration. We would be pleased to offer any assistance that you may require in fulfilling this request.

Thank you for your prompt consideration of this important matter. Please do not hesitate to contact any of us if we can provide you with additional information.

Sincerely, 

Tim Johnson                                     U.S. Senate 

John Thune                                       U.S. Senate 

Kristi NoemMember of Congress

  Permalink: http://noem.house.gov/index.cfm/2014/7/delegation-urges-president-obama-to-declare-a-major-disaster-in-storm-damaged-south-dakota-counties

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