State seeks storm damage assessment

Gov. Mike Rounds has asked the Federal Emergency Management Agency for a joint preliminary damage assessment to begin determining damages and costs associated with the recent ice storm in South Dakota.
A preliminary damage assessment begins the process of determining the extent of damages and the costs incurred by the state, cities, counties, tribes and eligible private, non-profit organizations because of the ice storm that struck the state last week.

 The request is a step in the process toward requesting a presidential disaster declaration. A presidential declaration allows FEMA to implement a recovery program that could lead to reimbursement of the state, cities, counties, tribes and eligible non-profit organizations for up to 75 percent of the eligible costs related to the ice storm.

 The storm, a strong system that brought freezing rain, ice and blowing snow across much of South Dakota, resulted in widespread power outages, particularly in the north central part of the state. At one point in the storm, nearly 12,000 households were without power, and a water deliver system serving a three-county area that includes the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation was out of operation. The water system has since been returned to operation. As of Friday, about 2,000 people remained without electrical power.

On Thursday, Jan. 21, Gov. Rounds signed an executive order declaring a state of emergency because of the storm. That order authorized the state Department of Public Safety to coordinate a storm response effort to support city, county and tribal efforts to deal with the impacts of the storm.

At the same time, the governor activated the state's Emergency Operations Center to coordinate the storm response.

 As of Friday, Jan. 29, the center had coordinate delivery and placement of 79 generators, 379 cots, nearly 3,300 prepared meals and the equivalent of 38,500 bottles of water to the area of South Dakota hardest hit by the storm. Two Incident Management Assistance Teams with 17 members were sent to the impacted area, and the South Dakota National Guard has had more than 140 members and several dozers, wreckers and water tanks involved in the operation.

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