On Friday, the Federal Emergency Management Agency of FEMA denied individual assistance to individuals and households in our area that were seriously affected by heavy rainstorms and flooding on September 21 and 22. Gov. Mark Dayton has announced that he will formally appeal that decision. Earlier this month, President Barack Obama declared a major disaster in Minnesota. What this means is that federal assistance for public infrastructure and hazard mitigation funding will be made available to affected communities. Among the counties included in that decree are Rice, Steele, Waseca and Freeborn in our listening area.

As a result of Friday's denial, state officials are asking homeowners in Blue Earth, Freeborn, Hennepin, Le Sueur, Rice, Steele and Waseca counties to report any damage to their homes from the September flooding. Those outside of the above counties are asked to report damage as well. As a result, these additional counties with flood damage may be included in the governor's appeal. Minnesota Homeland Security and Emergency Management along with FEMA will be conducting additional damage assessments from November 8-10. Homeowners are urged to contact their county emergency manager as soon as possible.

During damage assessments in October, FEMA and HSEM identified more than 1,100 homes affected by flooding. Since that time, more than 600 damaged homes were discovered in those areas when homeowners came forward to report damage.

Steele County residents may report damage to (507) 444-2454.