Burgum seeks disaster declaration for October flooding

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum sent a letter to President Donald Trump on Friday, requesting a presidential disaster declaration after an October storm dumped heavy rain and snow on a large part of the state.

The letter was sent to Trump through the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Burgum's office said preliminary assessments show the rainfall and blizzard caused up to $9.7 million in damage to public infrastructure. Burgum asked that the declaration cover the period from Oct. 9 through Oct. 26 and include 15 counties.

If granted, a presidential disaster declaration would unlock FEMA public assistance to help cities, counties and townships pay for the costs of repairing roads and other infrastructure.

North Dakota experienced weather extremes this year, ranging from spring flooding to a severe summer drought to the wettest August-to-October period in 125 years of record keeping. Burgum said in his letter that the multiple weather disasters depleted local road and emergency fund budgets.

“Local public works and contractor crews have been struggling to keep up with repairs after sites that had been fixed this spring were once again inundated by fall flooding," he wrote.