S.D. receives presidential disaster declaration approval

Register file photo: Tree damage in Brookings from the May 12 derecho.

Brookings Co. getting public infrastructure damage assistance following May 12 storms

PIERRE – South Dakota has received a presidential disaster declaration that allows the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help local governments in 20 counties and on two reservations, Gov. Kristi Noem announced Wednesday.

The declaration will help the counties and reservations recover from public infrastructure damage sustained as a result of tornadoes, severe storms, straight-line winds and flooding that occurred on May 12 in the eastern part of the state.

“This is good news for those in our state who were impacted by this severe weather,” Noem said. “I appreciate FEMA giving us a response. This means FEMA can start providing assistance in a timely manner.”

Public infrastructure damage assistance will be provided to the counties of Aurora, Beadle, Bon Homme, Brookings, Clay, Codington, Day, Deuel, Grant, Hamlin, Hanson, Hutchinson, Kingsbury, Lake, McCook, Miner, Minnehaha, Moody, Roberts and Turner, as well as the Flandreau Indian and Lake Traverse reservations.

The storm resulted in two deaths, a preliminary number of 14 reported tornadoes, and wind gusts of more than 100 miles per hour in some places, Noem wrote in a letter earlier this month requesting a disaster declaration. The storms also resulted in the temporary closure of roads and highways. Nearly 70,000 customers experienced power outages.

FEMA staff members will arrive soon in the state to help begin the assistance efforts with governmental and certain private-nonprofit entities. The Department of Public Safety’s Office of Emergency Management will be the state agency assigned to help coordinate the assistance.

South Dakota still has six open presidential disaster declarations for other events and is working with FEMA on the recovery process for each of those disasters as well.

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