October 28, 2019


PIERRE, S.D. – Governor Kristi Noem has requested a presidential disaster declaration for damage done by September storms in South Dakota, including the three tornadoes that struck portions of Sioux Falls and extreme flooding that occurred in the cities of Madison and Mitchell.

The request is for the period of Sept. 9-Sept. 26 and includes at least $17 million in requested federal assistance.

In her letter to President Donald Trump, Noem wrote that the storms, tornadoes, and floods damaged homes and businesses, along with public infrastructure such as parks, roads, highways, bridges, and electrical systems. The governor wrote that many residents had to be evacuated from rushing flood waters or buildings damaged by tornadoes.

Noem also told the President that this is the fifth major disaster declaration request since May 20, 2019. She said the recovery from the other disasters continues and that local resources are limited.

“All conditions from the previous major disaster declaration requests regarding public infrastructure such as roads, bridges, and culverts, agriculture, and tourism continue to plague our citizens and communities today and have been further exacerbated by the additional precipitation we continue to receive statewide,” wrote Noem.

Total individual assistance damage is estimated at more than $8 million. Individual assistance is requested for the counties of Aurora, Brookings, Charles Mix, Davison, Douglas, Hanson, Hutchinson, Kingsbury, Lake, Lincoln, McCook, Minnehaha, Moody, Sanborn, Turner, and Yankton. FEMA’s Individual Assistance program provides grants to individuals and families for expenses related to home repairs and rental assistance.

Total public assistance damages are estimated at more than $8.8 million. Counties included in the request for public assistance are Aurora, Brookings, Brule, Charles Mix, Davison, Douglas, Gregory, Hanson, Hutchinson, Kingsbury, Lake, McCook, Miner, Minnehaha, Moody, Sanborn, Turner, Union, Yankton counties and the Yankton Indian Reservation within Charles Mix County. FEMA’s Public Assistance program reimburses eligible state and local governments, and some non-profit entities, for damage to publicly-owned infrastructure.

Noem said a major concern is the condition of local roads, many of which have not yet been repaired or are still closed.

“Our transportation lifeline has been decimated this year,” wrote Noem. “Roads previously repaired have once again been destroyed by flooding.  Due to the wet conditions and ongoing damages from flooding, many rural gravel roads are still not suitable for travel and remain closed.”

The Governor told the President that South Dakotans continue to help those in need, but said federal assistance is also needed for the long-term recovery.

“The impact of this event will be felt in these communities well into the future,” said Noem. “However, with the availability of federal assistance, combined with the state, local, and voluntary assistance provided, it will help individuals, businesses, and government inch closer to recovering from this disaster.”

Noem has designated the Department of Public Safety’s Office of Emergency Management as the lead agency for the disaster recovery.