County tallies up spring weather damage

FEMA estimates over $600,000 in damage for Lyon County

MARSHALL — Ice storms and flooding caused more than $688,000 worth of damage in Lyon County this spring, according to estimates from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

But while that damage will be eligible for federal assistance, Lyon County Emergency Manager Tammy VanOverbeke said trying to get assistance has been a frustrating task.

“The whole FEMA process has been challenging,” VanOverbeke told Lyon County commissioners on Tuesday. Lyon County hasn’t even received assistance dollars from last summer’s disaster declaration yet, she said.

At commissioners’ regular meeting, VanOverbeke gave an update on the damage assessment process for this spring’s severe weather. The state of Minnesota has completed a preliminary damage assessment, and Gov. Tim Walz has until May 29 to request a federal disaster declaration. At this point, she said, three other states have already requested disaster declarations.

VanOverbeke provided a FEMA estimate of damage eligible for public assistance in Lyon County caused by this spring’s ice storms and flooding. The Lyon County highway, ditch, and sheriff’s departments all applied for federal assistance, as did the cities of Marshall, Tracy, Garvin and Cottonwood; the Lyon-Lincoln Co-Op; and nine different townships in Lyon County.

As of Tuesday morning, the estimated damage in Lyon County came to $688,114, according to a report summary from FEMA. Much of that damage was done to roads around the county.

There was around $92,000 of road damage in Eidsvold Township alone, and more than $50,000 each in Grandview and Vallers townships.

The city of Marshall had a total of $148,809 in damage, for debris removal, road and parks damage, and protective measures for public structures, the summary said.

VanOverbeke said there will also likely be more damage added to Lyon County’s total.

While Lyon County was hit hard by weather damage, some counties to the south were hit even harder. According to estimates in the FEMA summary, Murray County received more than $944,000 worth of damage, and Nobles County received over $1.2 million in damage.

While all that damage was eligible for public assistance, VanOverbeke said the process of trying to get federal aid has been difficult to work through. Lyon County still hasn’t received federal aid from last year’s disaster declaration. And on top of that, meeting FEMA’s standards has been difficult, she said.

“That’s one of the frustrations, especially with our townships,” VanOverbeke said. In many areas of the county, it’s not easy to prove what storm damage was caused by last summer’s weather events, and what was caused by this spring’s events.

“Some of it is still underwater,” VanOverbeke said.

“I’m really frustrated with the federal role in this,” VanOverbeke said. She said she also wished more emphasis would be placed on mitigation and preventing future storm and flood damage.

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