Dayton, trio of federal officials survey SW Minn. storm damage


Gov. Mark Dayton was joined by U.S. Sens. Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar and U.S. Rep. Tim Walz Saturday to survey the damage left by a devastating spring ice storm in southwestern Minnesota this week, KARE 11 reports.

Thousands of trees were toppled or lost limbs, and hundreds of utility poles fell in Worthington Tuesday into Wednesday, leaving much of the city without power. To compound the damage, a huge snowfall and winds early Thursday hampered efforts by crews trying to restore electricity.

Dayton declared a state of emergency in the region on Thursday, a day after activating the National Guard to assist in the storm-ravaged southwestern corner of the state.

"We need to step in and lend a helping hand," the governor said Saturday. "We have done that in the past with other disasters and we will do the same this time."

On Saturday, Tracy Haberman, a spokeswoman with Nobles Cooperative Electric said that over 2,000 power polls received damage, and power could be out for an extended period for residents in Nobles County, the Star Tribune reports.

Power should be restored to residents in Murray County by Sunday, Haberman says.

Meanwhile, 1,000 residents in Jackson County remain without electricity, Rick Burud, manager of Nobles Cooperative Electric and Federated Rural Electric told Minnesota Public Radio. Burud said it could be another week before power is fully restored.

While some reports estimated it will take $7 million for recovery efforts in the region, MPR that local government and business officials estimate it will take $10 million to clean up the damage and restore power.

See video of Walz, Klobuchar and Franken talking with the Worthington Daily Globe here, and Dayton talking with residents of Hills here.

According to the Daily Globe, the Nobles County is also seeking volunteer help Sunday to assist in the clean-up. For more information, click here.

The Minnesota senators are considering asking the Federal Emergency Management Agency for assistance, KARE says.

See KARE's report on the recovery efforts below.

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