Burgum may ask for federal help following heavy snowstorm

State News

Crab apples still cling to the green leafed branches while Thomas Kok uses a snow blower to clear his driveway and sidewalks in front of his home, Friday, Oct. 11, 2019 in Bismarck, N.D. North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum on Friday activated the state’s emergency plan due to what he called a crippling snowstorm that closed major highways and had farmers and ranchers bracing for the potential of huge crop and livestock losses. (Mike McCleary/The Bismarck Tribune via AP)

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum is expected to ask for federal help in dealing with the widespread flooding that occurred in the aftermath of heavy snow that fell last week in North Dakota, his spokesman said Friday.

The storm dropped more than 2 feet (600 centimeters) of snow in central and eastern parts of the state, closed major highways, canceled school, snarled air traffic, caused power outages and flattened unharvested crops across central and eastern North Dakota.

Widespread flooding has occurred as the snow melts. Seven counties — Barnes, Cavalier, Grand Forks, LaMoure, Stutsman, Traill and Walsh — and the cities of Jamestown, LaMoure and Valley City issued flood emergency declarations.

Burgum’s spokesman Mike Nowatzki said more cities and counties are expected to be added to the list.

Losses are still being assessed. Burgum and North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring are scheduled to meet with officials, community members, farmers and ranchers next week in Fargo, Grand Forks, Jamestown and Fessenden to learn more about the impact of the storm.

Once an assessment is complete, the governor is expected to declare an emergency for affected areas, Nowatzki said, which is a step toward pursuing a presidential disaster declaration that could pave the way for federal aid.

“Everything is pointing in that direction,” Nowatzki said.

A separate request also would be forwarded to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for a secretarial disaster designation that would be aimed at helping farmers and ranchers, he said.

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