Dayton asks for storm disaster declaration

Power lines
Power lines are downed along a roughly five-mile stretch of road about three miles west of Worthington, Minn, Wednesday evening, April 10, 2013.
MPR Photo/Mark Steil

After an ice storm earlier this month caused damages estimated at $26 million, Gov. Mark Dayton is asking for a presidential disaster declaration for a five-county area of southwest Minnesota.

The heaviest damage was to rural electric companies. About 3,000 power poles were destroyed and more than 800 miles of electric lines damaged in the three-day storm. Thousands of damaged trees will likely have to be cut down.

Nobles County sustained about $16 million in damage, Jackson County $6 million. Public officials in the region say they don't have sufficient budget reserves to pay for the cleanup.

Federal assistance is needed to help the region cope with the cleanup, Worthington Mayor Alan Oberloh said.

"We have to hope that we get a disaster declaration because there are no communities in Nobles County -- and Worthington included -- that have reserves in their budgets to handle the amount of cleanup effort that is going to be involved in getting the town back to the way it was prior to the ice event," Oberloh said.

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