WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith, and Congressman Rick Nolan sent a letter to President Donald Trump urging him to issue a federal disaster declaration for St. Louis County following major storm damage.

The full text of the letter can be found below:

Dear Mr. President:

We write to you in strong support of the request for a major disaster declaration to assist St. Louis County, as well as the overall mitigation assistance for the state of Minnesota.

From October 9 to 11, 2018, a storm produced sustained winds nearing 50 miles per hour and gusts of up to 86 miles per hour, causing destructive waves measuring 20 feet, water levels to rise 10 inches, and storm surge flooding in Lake Superior in Duluth. As a result, much of the area’s shoreline, tourist sites, and road and rail lines are significantly damaged. A preliminary public assistance damage assessment conducted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Minnesota Department of Public Safety, and local emergency response team estimate the storm’s public damage at over $11.5 million, far exceeding the minimum threshold of $7.9 million necessary to qualify for assistance.

As a result, Minnesota’s Governor has requested a Presidential Disaster Declaration for Public Assistance for St. Louis County and Hazard Mitigation Assistance for the state of Minnesota, which is now working to recover from eight separate Stafford Act disasters. Most recently, a summer storm system that caused damage in 28 counties and three tribal nations required $21 million in federal public assistance. Separately, the Governor has authorized state disaster assistance eight times in an effort to mitigate damage totaling more than $8.7 million in 2018. As Minnesota continues to experience frequent storms, Hazard Mitigation Assistance would help our communities to prevent and reduce the harm caused by natural disasters.

We strongly encourage you to issue a disaster declaration in a timely manner, which will allow FEMA to begin to help St. Louis County and Minnesota access federal assistance for critical infrastructure repair and prevention. Thank you for your attention to this request, and we look forward to working with you to assist the recovery efforts in Minnesota.