Weather Forecast


Tornado, flooding cost assessments to begin

PIERRE — Gov. Dennis Daugaard has asked the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for a joint preliminary damage assessment (PDA) of the cost of damages to public infrastructure from June tornadoes and flooding.

The assessments will begin on Monday, July 14, and should be completed within three days. Assessment teams will include representatives of FEMA, State Office of Emergency Management and local governments. The teams will visit Butte, Clay, Corson, Dewey, Hanson, Jerauld, Lincoln, Minnehaha, Perkins, Turner, Union and Ziebach counties and the Standing Rock Indian Reservation; all have formally approved disaster declarations.

A series of storms from June 13 through June 20 brought tornadoes, heavy rain and flooding across parts of South Dakota.

"These assessments are the first step in the process of estimating damages to public infrastructure,'' Gov. Daugaard said. "When we have this preliminary information, we will have a better picture of the extent of the damage to support a possible request for a presidential disaster declaration.''

The assessments gather preliminary estimates of costs incurred by the state, cities, counties, tribes and eligible private, non-profit organizations. Damage to highways and roads likely will be a significant part of the total cost from the June incident.

The PDA will only include damage done to public infrastructure. An assessment was conducted for private property damages last month, and the governor forwarded his request for individual assistance to the President on July 2.

The PDA is an information-gathering process. Using the preliminary information, the governor determines whether damages are so extensive that state, local and tribal resources are insufficient to respond adequately and that federal assistance is needed. Under federal law, a disaster declaration request must come from a Governor. If a presidential declaration is received, more detailed evaluations are made of the extent of damage at each eligible site.

Neither the PDA process nor the governor's request is a guarantee that federal assistance will be provided. A presidential disaster declaration authorizes FEMA to implement a recovery program that could reimburse the state, cities, counties, tribes and eligible non-profit organizations for up to 75 percent of the eligible costs related to the storms.