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Dayton asks for federal disaster declaration in wake of SW Minn. ice storm

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Gov. Mark Dayton Friday sent a letter to President Barack Obama requesting federal financial assistance to help residents of southwestern Minnesota recover from a devastating ice and snow storm earlier this month, the Pioneer Press reports.

Dayton says in his letter to Obama that damage to the infrastructure in five Minnesota counties -- Cottonwood, Jackson, Murray, Nobles and Rock -- is estimated at $26 million.

Several cities suffered major damage during the winter storm April 9 and 10, where ice coated Worthington and surrounding communities, toppling trees and utility poles and eventually knocking out power to thousands. A heavy snow storm that followed the ice storm made recovery efforts all the more difficult.

Dayton and his contingent including Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Sen. Al Franken and Rep. Tim Walz visited the region in the wake of the storms, promising that they would extend a helping hand.

Dayton said some small communities used up the annual public works budget in response to the storm.

The request comes just over a week after the state requested the Federal Emergency Management Agency to come to the region to survey the damage.

If the federal aid is quickly approved, Dayton said the state could approve aid before the Legislature adjourns May 20, the Pioneer Press reports.

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