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  Sunday February 1st, 2015    

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Who to call if you need help after the September floods (10/06/2010)
By Sarah Squires
Severe storms last month produced heavy flooding across southern Minnesota and Wisconsin, and damage estimates for public infrastructure and private property are still being tallied.

In Winona County, preliminary estimates show about $300,000 in damage to public infrastructure such as roads and bridges, said County Emergency Management Director Bob Bilder. “Right now we’re working with a local chapter of the American Red Cross, going out and doing preliminary damage assessments for private property,” he said.

Residents in Winona County who have experienced damage to their homes or private property due to flooding prompted by the September 23 severe storms should contact the Red Cross to ensure their property is checked. Call 452-4258 to report damage to private property. Additionally, those with private property damage are strongly encouraged to document the damage with photographs.

While Winona County’s numbers are still rolling in, heavy damage has been reported throughout the state and in Wisconsin. Preliminary estimates for damage in Minnesota are over $64 million, with $44.9 of that attributed to damage to public infrastructure. Those preliminary numbers show that 609 dwellings were affected by the flooding in Minnesota, and of those, 80 were destroyed, according to Governor Tim Pawlenty’s office.

Pawlenty declared a state of emergency for southern Minnesota last month, and last week sent a letter to President Barack Obama asking for a federal disaster declaration for Minnesota. If a federal declaration is made, federal programs will kick in that could include unemployment assistance, individual and household assistance, small business disaster loans, crisis counseling and low interest loans for affected farmers.

Heavy damage was also reported in Wisconsin, with Trempealeau County reporting close to $800,000 in damage to public infrastructure and almost $600,000 reported in Buffalo County. State, federal and local workers are still working to get a handle on damage totals for both states, including the city of Arcadia, one of the areas hit hardest in the region.

Residents in Arcadia were evacuated on September 23 as the rain waters pushed Turtan Creek and Meyers Valley Creek over their banks. A state of emergency was declared to the sound of emergency sirens wailing, and the National Guard was called in to assist with evacuations.

Those in Buffalo, Eau Claire, Jackson and Trempealeau counties who experienced damage to private property during the flooding should call Great Rivers 2-1-1 (dial 211 or 800-362-8255). 


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