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Storm, downed power lines prompt emergency declaration by Nobles County

Last week's storms toppled approximately 40 power poles, causing an estimated $500,000 in damage to Great River Energy and Nobles Cooperative Electric property.

Straight line winds snapped power poles along Interstate 90, just east of Worthington Wednesday evening, causing a multi-car crash with injuries.
Straight line winds snapped power poles along Interstate 90, just east of Worthington Wednesday evening, causing a multi-car crash with injuries.
Tim Middagh / The Globe
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WORTHINGTON — The Nobles County Board of Commissioners declared a state of emergency for the county as a result of storms last week. The declaration was made during an emergency meeting Monday.

The storms toppled approximately 40 power poles, causing an estimated $500,000 in damage to Great River Energy and Nobles Cooperative Electric property and far exceeding the state’s $45,600 threshold requirement for an emergency to be declared, said Tawn Hall, emergency management director and deputy county administrator.

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“We do have some individuals that have reached out to me with some (damage to) hog barns, cattle sheds and greenhouse businesses. That would be individual assistance, that wouldn’t qualify for the public assistance that we’re declaring for right now,” she added.

Minnesota's threshold for declaring an emergency is $9 million in damage, which was also met and exceeded due to the powerful storms that hit several areas of the state. As a result, the state will also request assistance at the national level for the disaster, Hall said.

State funds for the disaster would cover 75% of damages, with a local match of 25%. Should the disaster reach the federal level, the federal government would pay 75% of the costs, the state would pay 25% and no local match would be required, according to Hall.

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That’s just for public entities, Hall emphasized, noting that individual assistance is requested after an emergency declaration, and the state then evaluates whether individual assistance is appropriate.

Commissioner Donald Linssen declared a state of emergency for the county on Friday.

Wednesday’s storm and its downed power lines led to a crash that killed Martha Llanos Rodriguez , 30, of Mexico City, Mexico, who was among a group of storm chasers in a vehicle that had stopped for the downed power lines and was struck from behind by a semi. The crash scene and downed power lines resulted in the closing of Interstate 90 for two and a half hours. Meanwhile, some homes and businesses were without power for several hours.

A 1999 graduate of Jackson County Central and a 2003 graduate of Augsburg College, Kari Lucin started writing for newspapers in Minnesota and North Dakota in 2006. During her time as a reporter, she covered beats including education, watershed, county and agriculture, and frequently wrote about health and science. She has also served as an online content coordinator and an engagement specialist at various Forum Communications properties. She was a marketing assistant at Iowa Lakes Community College in Estherville for two years, where she did design work in addition to writing and social media management.

Lucin is currently a community editor with the Globe of Worthington.

Email: klucin@dglobe.com
Phone: (507) 376-7319
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