Governor issues emergency to assist counties with flooding

BISMARCK Gov. Jack Dalrymple on Thursday issued an emergency declaration in response to overland flooding in northwestern and central North Dakota.

Heavy rains in the Upper Souris River Basin have swamped farmland and roadways, causing significant damage to area crops and public infrastructure.

Dalrymple’s emergency declaration makes available state resources to assist county, city and tribal jurisdictions with damages to public infrastructure.

North Dakota Department of Emergency Services is working with local officials to assess and document damages. Local declarations have been issued for Bottineau, Divide, Eddy and Renville counties and the city of Underwood in McLean County. Additional jurisdictions may also declare an emergency as they continue to assess damages.

“Recent flooding in several counties continues to cause damage to local and state roadways and to other public infrastructure,” Dalrymple said. “We will continue to work with local officials to provide assistance in keeping access open.”

“At the same time, we will make sure that the U.S. Department of Agriculture understands the challenges faced by many area farmers who haven’t been able to plant crops and by those suffering from crop losses due to flooding and excessive moisture,” Dalrymple said.

Dalrymple said local government officials should document damages to public infrastructure. He encouraged farmers and ranchers to document their losses as well.

Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley today toured counties in north central and northwest North Dakota and met with local officials to assess flood damages to public infrastructure. Joining Wrigley were Adjutant General David Sprynczynatyk, director of the state Department of Emergency Services, Darcy Rosendahl, deputy director of the state Department of Transportation, and area legislators.

Wrigley and other state officials took an aerial tour of farmland and roadways swamped by recent rains in Bottineau, Renville and Divide counties. They also held meetings with mayors, county commissioners, emergency managers and other local officials in Bottineau, Mohall and Crosby to coordinate damage assessments and repairs to roadways and other public infrastructure.

A series of recent rain storms have dumped as much as 10 inches of rain in some areas of northwestern North Dakota. Widespread overland and riverine flooding late last week swamped farmland and many roadways in much of the upper Souris River Basin. Many roadways were submerged by floodwaters, including stretches of N.D. Highway 256 south of Antler, as well as the northbound and southbound lanes of U.S. Highway 83 north of Coleharbor.

Floodwaters receded from all four lanes of U.S. 83 near Coleharbor on Monday, but N.D. Highway 256 remained closed about a half mile south of the Canadian border on Thursday morning.

County officials reported that flooding also washed out roads. In some areas, crews cut through roadways to relieve flooding that threatened rural homes.