Governor Mark Dayton has declared a state of emergency in 36 Minnesota counties plus the Red Lake Nation, citing torrential rains, flash floods, high winds and tornadoes since June 9th.

Homeland Security and Emergency Management Director Joe Kelly said the governor’s declaration is an “important signal” to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, FEMA, “That this is an extraordinary event.   It’s not just something that’s within the state’s normal capacity to deal with, and that the state and governor believe that this event should qualify for federal assistance.”

Kelly added that, so far, all local units of government have things well in hand, but, “Where they’re gonna need assistance is on the recovery phase, when it comes time to do all the repairs and the rebuilding and then figure out how to pay for it.”

After they get more information from affected counties, Kelly said they plan to ask the federal government for a disaster declaration which, if approved by the White House, could trigger federal aid.