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Sioux Falls ice storm cost estimated at $9 million

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Sioux Falls ice storm cost estimated at $9 million
Mitchell South Dakota 120 South Lawler 57301

SIOUX FALLS (AP) -- Sioux Falls officials estimate that a three-day ice and snow storm in April cost the city $9 million.

The storm that hit April 9 downed trees, tree branches and power lines in South Dakota's largest city, at one point knocking out power to more than 115,000 people in eastern South Dakota.

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The Sioux Falls estimate includes the cost of snow removal, personnel overtime, damage to park property and the cleanup the branches, which took about two months.

Officials have asked the City Council to dip into the Sioux Falls' reserve fund, which has almost $40 million. City Council members are still debating whether to accept federal help. Some officials believe other disaster-stricken areas of the country such as tornado-devastated Moore, Okla., might need the money more.

The city has recovered from the storm, Sioux Falls Mayor Mike Huether said Tuesday, when city officials held a news conference to announce the end of the tree branch cleanup project that was dubbed Operation Timber Strike.

"There wasn't a neighborhood, there wasn't a park, there wasn't a street that wasn't impacted in a major, major way. Now it's 60 days later, and you can barely tell that anything happened," Huether said. "That's the way Sioux Falls wanted it to occur, and that's what actually has happened. In fact, I think there's some people around town who have forgotten about that ice storm, and that's a big, big win."

Officials with the Federal Emergency Management Agency are in South Dakota meeting with applicants and reviewing cleanup costs in seven counties and the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. President Barack Obama last month declared them disaster areas. The reservation in southern South Dakota got about 2 feet of snow during the storm, isolating some residents for a time.

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