Biden approves major disaster declaration for 7 North Dakota counties
President Joe Biden approved Gov. Doug Burgum's request for a declaration for damage from an early November snow storm.
BISMARCK — Seven counties in North Dakota will receive public assistance after President Joe Biden approved a major disaster declaration for a severe winter storm in November.
The Nov. 9-11 storm brought record-breaking snowfall to central North Dakota and ice accumulations in the southeast that impacted transportation and severely damaged electrical infrastructure, costing more than $1.7 million.
The declaration, which was requested by Gov. Doug Burgum, covers seven counties: Dickey, Kidder, Mercer, Nelson, Ransom, Sargent and Wells.
The declaration unlocks FEMA public assistance to help cities, counties and townships pay for costs of repairing infrastructure and snow removal. Preliminary assessments indicate costs at just under $1.75 million, including over $125,000 for snow removal.
The storm dumped 24 to 30 inches of snow across some counties, with snowfall rates approaching 3 inches per hour in some locations and winds exceeding 40 miles per hour, creating blizzard conditions. Zero visibility conditions, combined with layers of ice under the snow and significant drifting, forced the closure of major state highways for nearly five days. Ice accumulations also toppled trees and downed power lines, leaving thousands of residents without power or heat.
Burgum noted that the electrical infrastructure damaged during the November storm is the same type of infrastructure that was ripped apart during a blizzard and subsequent flooding in April and May of 2022. That disaster, declared less than a year ago, was the fifth-largest in North Dakota history and caused approximately $97 million in damages statewide.
North Dakota has received five federal disaster declarations over the past three years, three of which were caused by severe storm events.
The federal government also granted the governor’s request for the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program to be implemented on a statewide basis to help communities pay for projects that increase resiliency and reduce costs in the long term.