Gov. Doug Burgum is seeking to extend the deadline for making a request for a presidential disaster declaration for historic flooding this fall that caused millions in damage to public infrastructure.

A presidential disaster declaration would include public assistance for emergency work and the repair or replacement of damaged roads.

Federal guidelines generally require that such requests be made within 30 days of the event, but the widespread flooding has prevented access to damaged areas and the completion of preliminary damage assessments.

The time period Burgum is seeking the declaration for begins Oct. 9 with a severe winter storm that blanketed areas across the state with more than 36 inches of snow in some locations. Many of the areas were already saturated at the time of the storm.

The ending date, Oct. 26, was identified as the day when inflows from the Jamestown Reservoir and the gauge on the Red River at Pembina officially crested and the flood waters began to recede.

“Many of the local governments experiencing fall flooding are also in the process of addressing severe agricultural impacts,” Burgum said in a letter to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue recently declared a Secretarial Disaster Designation for 47 of North Dakota’s 53 counties. That step opens the door to additional disaster assistance, including emergency loans.

If the extension is approved the North Dakota Department of Emergency Services will continue gathering information about the extent of damage from the Oct. 9 through Oct. 26 storms and subsequent flooding. So far, 11 counties have submitted repots on damages. Eight counties are still working to assess the impact.

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