U.S. Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) and U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem (R-S.D.) today, in a letter to President Trump, expressed their strong support for South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard’s request for a major disaster declaration that would cover Campbell, McPherson, and Walworth counties in South Dakota. If approved, the federal disaster assistance would help communities recover from severe thunderstorms and flash flooding that occurred between May 17 and May 18, which caused significant damage.

“We applaud the work of federal, state, county, and local entities in response to the storm system, as their efforts helped to mitigate the immediate impacts of the storm,” the delegation wrote. “However, the impact to public infrastructure across the three counties is severe.  As Governor Daugaard indicated in his request, the storm was of ‘such severity and magnitude that effective response is beyond the capabilities of the state and the affected local governments, and supplemental federal assistance is necessary.’ This determination was reached on the basis of preliminary damage assessment completed by the state in cooperation with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.”

Full text of the letter is below:

Dear President Trump:

As the congressional delegation from the state of South Dakota, we write to express our support for Governor Dennis Daugaard’s June 14, 2018, request for a major disaster declaration covering the South Dakota counties of Campbell, McPherson, and Walworth. This declaration request would assist recovery efforts from severe thunderstorms and flash flooding that occurred between May 17 and May 18, 2018.

The storms caused significant damage to public infrastructure in the three affected counties. More than 13 inches of rain fell along a storm line from Selby to Long Lake, South Dakota. The heavy rain resulted in severe overland flooding, and multiple county roads were submerged and had to be barricaded by local officials to ensure public safety.  The 27-foot-tall Lake Hiddenwood Dam at Hiddenwood State Park in Walworth County was breached due to the heavy rain, and the entire reservoir was drained. Water from the dam flowed for miles toward Sand Lake, located near the Campbell and Walworth county border. Counties suffered damages ranging from $21.74 per capita in McPherson County to an overwhelming $556.89 per capita in Walworth County. Your approval of the request for a disaster declaration will accelerate recovery across the affected areas.

We applaud the work of federal, state, county, and local entities in response to the storm system, as their efforts helped to mitigate the immediate impacts of the storm. However, the impact to public infrastructure across the three counties is severe. As Governor Daugaard indicated in his request, the storm was of “such severity and magnitude that effective response is beyond the capabilities of the state and the affected local governments, and supplemental federal assistance is necessary.” This determination was reached on the basis of preliminary damage assessment completed by the state in cooperation with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. 

We respectfully request that you expeditiously review Governor Daugaard’s request and declare a major disaster for relevant areas of our state. We would be pleased to offer any assistance that you may require in fulfilling this request.

Thank you for your consideration of this important matter. Please do not hesitate to contact any of us if we can provide you with additional information.

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