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Disaster History

Minnesota has experienced numerous presidentially declared disasters and many other lesser destructive events.    HSEM oversees the response and recovery efforts for the state and helps coordinate recovery resources across all state agencies by leading the Minnesota Recovers Task Force.

The following maps have been produced to show the disaster declaration frequency and locations by county for the State of Minnesota since 1965.  The maps identify the total number of emergency declarations (EM) or major presidential disasters declarations for Individual Assistance (IA), Public Assistance (PA) or both for each county in the state.

Map of total IA-PA Disasters by county 1965-2013

Map of total Public Assistance disasters by county 1965-2013 

Map of total Individual Assistance disasters by county 1965-2013 

Map of total Emergency Declarations by county 1965-2013 

The disaster summaries listed below include links to pages with more details and statistics on the event and are updated as new information becomes available.
For more on any of these events information, please contact:

2013 Summer Storms and Flooding (DR-4131)

The storm system began with 5.6 inches of rain in Stevens County on June 20 and ended with 8.25 inches of rain in Wilkin County on June 26. Parts of the state saw record 48-hour rainfall amounts. One to two inch-per-hour rainfall caused flash flooding and mudslides in many locations. Thousands of trees were uprooted and fell on public buildings and roads.
The most extensive power outage in the history of the state left more than 600,000 homes and businesses without electricity for up to seven days making it the largest power outage in Minnesota history.
 Forms and Documents

June Storms and Flooding (DR-4131) Applicants

June Storms Force Account forms

2013 Spring Ice Storm in Southwest Minnesota (DR-4113)

On April 9 - 11, 2013 the southwestern area of the state was hit by a late winter storm that coated trees, roads, and structures with roughly two inches of ice. The weight of the ice buildup caused extensive damage to power and communications infrastructure, including unburied lines resulting in power outages to more than 100,000 people.

2012 North Central Minnesota Wind Storm

A line of severe storms with powerful straight-line winds swept across several counties and tribal lands of the state from July 2-4, 2012. The storms left millions of dollars in debris removal costs and damages. The National Weather Service reported winds up to 80 miles per hour during the height of the storm system. Response activities (generators, cooling stations, power restoration, etc.) were ongoing for several days after the storms. The City of Bemidji issued a travel advisory due to the numerous trees obstructing roadways and destroying power lines. Sixty percent of the City of Grand Rapids lost its power.

2012 Summer Northeast and East Central Flooding (DR-4069)

In the week leading up to the flooding rains of June 19 – 20 2012, parts of northeast and east central Minnesota had received 2-4 inches of rain as numerous storm systems moved across the area. This helped to saturate the soil which primed the Duluth area for runoff from the extreme rain event.  A swath of rainfall amounts ranging from 5-10 inches fell over much of the Duluth area of during the period of June 19 -20. Numerous roads were washed out from the deluge of rain from Carlton County through the Duluth metro area and into Douglas County and Bayfield County in Wisconsin. The official Duluth total rainfall for the event was 7.25". Duluth International Airport broke several rainfall records during this flooding event. Locally high amounts in the 8-10 inch range were reported throughout Duluth neighborhoods and along the North Shore of Lake Superior.


2011 Summer Storms and Tornadoes (DR-4009)

On June 31, the National Weather Service (NWS) reported a warm and very moist air mass enveloped much of the Midwest. On July 1, the air mass was characterized by temperatures in the 90s and dew points in the mid 70s. A surface cool front was working slowly east, to focus or converge the moisture resulting in instability. Stronger upper level winds between 10,000 and 30,000 feet moved into western Minnesota by later in the afternoon. Thunderstorms which developed over southeast South Dakota into southwestern Minnesota that afternoon quickly organized and propagated northeast.

2011 Hennepin-Anoka County Tornado (DR-1990)

On Sunday, May 22, there were 56 reports of tornadoes extending from northeastern Oklahoma, up the Mississippi Valley to northern Wisconsin. The strongest hit was Joplin, Missouri where at least 125 people lost their lives and thousands were displaced from their homes. In Minnesota, there were reports in Fillmore, Hennepin, Anoka, and Washington Counties of tornadoes and property damage.
Details and Statistics

2011 Spring Flooding (DR-1982)

Heavy late summer and autumn 2010 precipitation (twice the normal amount since October 2010 in parts of Minnesota) left soils saturated and river levels above normal prior to the winter freeze. The winter preceding the flood was the 4th snowiest on record.  National Weather Service (NWS) reported that the snowpack contained a water content ranked among the highest in the past 60 years.
Details and Statistics


2010 Fall Flooding (DR-1941)

ZumbroFalls2010web.jpgDuring September 22–24, 2010, heavy rainfall, ranging from 3 inches to more than 10 inches over the time period, caused severe flooding across several counties in southern Minnesota. The floods were exacerbated by existing wet conditions, resulting from excessive summer rainfalls of up to 20 inches, exceeding the historical average by more than 4 inches. The widespread flooding that occurred as a result caused evacuations of hundreds of residents, and extensive damages to residences, businesses, and infrastructure. In all, 21 counties in southern Minnesota were declared Federal disaster areas.
Details and statistics

2010 Storms and Wadena Tornadoes (DR-1921)

On June 17, a powerful storm system crossed into Minnesota from the Dakotas and brought damaging thunderstorm winds, hail, and flooding rains and tornadoes across the state. The storms spawned 48 confirmed tornadoes ranging in intensity from EF0 to EF4 in a single day. Three fatalities occurred at widely dispersed locations in the state while many injuries were reported, and property damage was extensive. In particular, a large number of homes in Wadena County were damaged or destroyed including the High School. The tornado outbreak was notable for the number of tornadoes produced in a single day (a Minnesota record) and the geographic extent of the event.
Details and statistics

2010 Spring River Flooding (DR-1900)

The combination of high-water equivalency snowpack, saturated soils, ice jams, and flat terrain created the potential for near record flooding in several basins throughout Minnesota. Based on this potential, an emergency measure, FEMA-3310-EM was declared on March 19, 2010 to include emergency protective measures (Category B), limited to direct Federal assistance, under the Public Assistance program.
Details and statistics

2009 Red River Spring Flooding (DR-1830)

The 2009 Red River flood along the Red River of the North in North Dakota and Minnesota in the United States and Manitoba in Canada brought record flood levels to the Fargo-Moorhead area. The flood was a result of saturated and frozen ground, Spring snowmelt exacerbated by additional rain and snow storms, and virtually flat terrain. Communities along the Red River prepared for more than a week as the U.S. National Weather Service continuously updated the predictions for the city of Fargo, North Dakota with an increasingly higher projected river crest. Originally predicted to reach a level of near 43 feet (13m) at Fargo by March 29, the river in fact crested at 40.84 feet (12.45m) at 12:15 a.m. March 28 and started a slow decline. The river continued to rise to the north as the crest moved downstream.