Gov. Walz spent time in Cook and Biwabik Friday assessing flood damage

Governor Walz visits flood damage on the Range

Governor Walz and other state leaders visited flood damage on the Range on Friday.

Governor Tim Walz visited Cook and Biwabik Friday morning to survey damage caused by severe flooding from the storms.

He praised the neighbors helping neighbors situation that’s been happening all across the region. And he encouraged everyone to keep their receipts, as they start tallying up storm damage totals.

Walz mentioned the state disaster contingency fund, which can help cover things that other funding sources can’t.

He chatted with a few business owners and residents, and toured some of the flooded River Street.

Steve Kajala was cleaning up his Prudential office. “People helped get the flooring out, and start disinfecting. It had already started smelling musty.”

He’s also the Cook Lions Club President, and shared that the emergency grant they applied for through Lions Club International was approved in three hours.

They’ll be asking to borrow people’s dehumidifiers in the coming days.

Cook Mayor Harold Johnston said, “We know we can recover, but it’s going to take some time.”

Theresa Drift said her basement needs to be gutted now. She does have flood insurance, but she’s not sure how much it will cover.

She wishes there had been more warning, and more sandbags available.

Walz activated the State Emergency Operations Center to monitor conditions over the weekend as floodwaters move through the state. St. Louis County had declared a state of emergency on Wednesday as residents and business owners dealt with drinking water problems, flooded businesses and washed out roads. Officials say this is the second-largest natural disaster that St. Louis County has seen in three decades.

In downtown Cook, floodwaters measure several feet, impacting residences and businesses, and more than 40 roads throughout St. Louis County have been washed out or flooded. Giants Ridge in Biwabik had several water line washouts requiring residents and visitors to boil water.

“When it comes to Minnesota weather, we never know the hand we are going to be dealt. From last year’s summer drought and forest fires to the major flooding we are dealing with today, what remains consistent is the ability of our communities to come together in times of crisis,” said Governor Walz. “Here amidst the flooding, I am reminded of the strength and resilience of Minnesotans. Together we will build back, and the state stands ready to support.”

A declaration of local emergency allows the county to begin the process to establish eligibility to access state disaster relief funding if the damage does not reach the required threshold for a federal major disaster declaration.

State funding includes:

  • The Disaster Assistance Contingency Account which can be used to support local governments as they recover from a natural disaster. This funding is used to help repair damage to public infrastructure.
  • The Transportation Disaster Account which can be used for local governments to help support damage to local highways.

If the damage exceeds the required threshold, the state may request a major disaster declaration from the President as well as assistance from the Small Business Association (SBA).