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SD Eligible For FEMA Money After June Storms

Kealey Bultena
Strong straightline winds damaged public infrastructure in Garretson. / June 22, 2015

Storms in mid-June ripped across South Dakota. A tornado, 95-mile-per-hour winds, baseball-sized hail, and heavy rains knocked down power lines, slammed trees and branches to the ground, and washed out roads and bridges.

The severe weather cause nearly $3 million in damage to public property. Jason Bauder with South Dakota’s Office of Emergency Management says the federal government is covering some of the repair costs.

“Twelve counties, the state, and three tribal governments are eligible for through FEMA,” Bauder says. “At a percentage of 75 percent, they will be able to receive funding for damage to their public infrastructure as a result of those storms.”

South Dakota applied for individual assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency earlier this summer, but FEMA said the damage didn’t warrant federal help for private property owners. Bauder says this Presidential Disaster Declaration allows federal money to help repair anything owned by state and local governments.

"Road infrastructure: so culverts, bridges that are on roads that may have washed out as a result of the severe storms and heavy rain that we got, any damage to public buildings: if they had damage to their roofs from the strong straightline winds or tornados – that would all be eligible if they didn’t have insurance on it," Bauder says.

Bauder says FEMA officials plan to be in South Dakota sometime in the next week. He says state officials need to meet with counties and tribes to coordinate applications for funding.

The declaration includes the following counties: Brule, Buffalo, Fall River, Haakon, Hughes, Jackson, Jerauld, Jones, Lyman, McCook, Oglala Lakota and Stanley.

The Crow Creek Sioux Tribe, the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe, and the Oglala Sioux Tribe that lies within Oglala Lakota County are also eligible for federal disaster assistance.

Kealey Bultena grew up in South Dakota, where her grandparents took advantage of the state’s agriculture at nap time, tricking her into car rides to “go see cows.” Rarely did she stay awake long enough to see the livestock, but now she writes stories about the animals – and the legislature and education and much more. Kealey worked in television for four years while attending the University of South Dakota. She started interning with South Dakota Public Broadcasting in September 2010 and accepted a position with television in 2011. Now Kealey is the radio news producer stationed in Sioux Falls. As a multi-media journalist, Kealey prides herself on the diversity of the stories she tells and the impact her work has on people across the state. Kealey is always searching for new ideas. Let her know of a great story! Find her on Facebook and twitter (@KealeySDPB).