Burgum surveys storm damage in northwest ND

Governor Doug Burgum today met with local officials, residents and ranchers in Crosby and other parts of Divide County in far northwest North Dakota to review infrastructure damage caused by the severe spring storm last weekend and discuss how the state can help the region recover from widespread power outages. .

Maj. Gen. Al Dohrmann, North Dakota National Guard Adjutant General and Director of the North Dakota Department of Emergency Services (NDDES), and State Homeland Security Director Darin Hanson joins Burgum at the Divide County Courthouse for a briefing from local officials including Crosby Mayor and State Rep. Bert Anderson, Divide County Emergency Manager Jody Gunlock, Sheriff Zach Schroeder, Commissioners of the county, municipal leaders from Ambrose, Noonan and Fortuna, Divide County School District Superintendent Sherlock Hirning and utility officials.

The meeting took place next to a conference room that has been converted into an emergency shelter with beds and meals for residents who have been without power for up to four days. Utility officials said it could be two weeks or more before power is restored to all areas.

“As is always the case when extreme weather hits North Dakota, we have seen incredible examples of neighbors helping neighbors and communities come together to overcome unprecedented odds,” Burgum said. “We are grateful for the leadership shown at all levels and for the tireless efforts of first responders, law enforcement, snowplow crews, utility workers, local, state and federal agencies and local authorities. others who work to protect lives and property. The State of North Dakota will continue to respond with a whole-of-government approach that prioritizes the health, safety, and well-being of our citizens.

Dohrmann and Hanson worked with local authorities to identify resource needs such as generators, heavy equipment and even unmanned aerial vehicles to survey damage in areas where roads are still impassable, and to coordinate with the NDDES and other state agencies to assist in recovery. They said they were confident the storm would qualify for a presidential disaster declaration, which would make federal assistance available to help with recovery costs.

Jerry King, general manager of Burke-Divide Electric Cooperative, estimated damage to the co-op’s system at $10 million to $20 million, with more than 1,000 downed utility poles and 14 miles of transmission lines damaged.

“We are currently in an emergency restoration phase, which involves turning on house lights,” said King, who also sits on Crosby City Council.

King expressed appreciation for the emergency declaration released by the state on Monday, as well as Divide County’s declaration, noting that they will make public funds available to help restore power and repair damage.

“We just appreciate any help we can get. It will be long. It’s bad there,” he said.

Schroeder, the sheriff, said the biggest challenge is communicating with residents, with so many people without power and a communications system for first responders temporarily offline due to a downed tower.

“People are very proud here, but we want to let them know that resources are available if they need them,” he said.

On Monday, Burgum declared a statewide emergency for flooding and widespread damage to utility infrastructure caused by last weekend’s severe storm. The governor also declared a disaster for areas affected by record snowfall during the historic April 12-14 blizzard based on local costs incurred for snow removal. Additional counties may be added to declarations as county damage and cost assessments are completed and submitted to NDDES. Burgum plans to seek presidential disaster declarations for both events to unlock federal aid to help pay for snow removal and infrastructure repairs.




(Statement of the Burgum government, photo)

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