State OKs storm relief

FAIRMONT — Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton authorized $3.7 million in state disaster assistance Monday in eight Minnesota counties and one tribal nation for storms that occurred Sept. 18-20.

Martin County will receive $289,332, while neighboring Faribault County will get $21,836.

Sever thunderstorms produced heavy rains, damaging winds and tornadoes locally on Sept. 20.

The state funds will reimburse public infrastructure repairs and cleanup costs associated with the storms. Under Minnesota law, the state will reimburse 75 percent of eligible costs for public infrastructure repairs and cleanup, with local governments responsible for covering the remaining 25 percent.

Both Ceylon and Granada were struck by tornadoes during the storm, and heavy winds caused widespread damage and power outages in neighboring communities. The Granada-Huntley-East Chain school building received damage to the second-floor roof of the academic wing and the scoreboard and some bleachers at the football field. Granada itself was shut down and no one allowed in after the storm hit, as crews worked to restore power to about 150 residences and businesses there.

The brief rain and wind storm hit Fairmont about 6 p.m. Sept. 20 and lasted only about 20 minutes. But straight-line winds took down branches and trees all over town, blocking streets and knocking out power, which took a day or more to restore in some spots.

Uprooted and damaged trees were a familiar sight over the next few weeks as people and communities pulled together to help with cleanup. About 30 trees were lost from Fairmont parks and trail, according to park and street departments supervisor Nick Lardy.

On Sept. 25, Martin County commissioners declared a state of emergency. It was the second time such a declaration had been made in 2018, after a state of emergency was declared in June, because of rains and flooding.

Other counties that received funding Monday included Goodhue, Le Sueur, Renville, Rice and Waseca counties, along with Prairie Island Indian Community.

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