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.
Itasca County reported a fatality when the strong winds forced a boat from under a bridge where the occupants were seeking shelter and capsized it resulting in one man drowning.
State Disaster Recovery Funding
On August 24, 2012 Governor Mark Dayton signed a $167 million disaster relief bill passed earlier in the day by a Special Session of the Minnesota State Legislature. Article 2 provided state assistance to seven counties and two tribes for disaster relief from the windstorm on or after July 2, 2012.
The bill included disaster relief appropriations of $6.875 million from the general fund and $994,000 from the bond fund to Public Safety and Natural Resources.
The legislation provides appropriations from the general fund, unless specified, for relief in Beltrami, Clearwater, Hubbard, Itasca, Koochiching, St. Louis, and Cass Counties, and to the Leech Lake and Bois Forte bands of Ojibwe and are generally available until June 30, 2015.
- Public safety. Appropriates $5.8 million from the general fund for reimbursement of eligible costs. These appropriations do not lapse.
- Natural Resources. Appropriates $2.069 million of which $994,000 is bond funds for reforestation and $1.075 million is general fund for administration of salvage timber sales and to replace revenue lost by DNR.