nddes insights July 2020

Burgum thanks Trump administration for granting major disaster declaration for spring flooding in ND

Gov. Doug Burgum thanked the White House July 10 after President Donald Trump announced he had granted the governor’s request for a presidential major disaster declaration for widespread spring flooding estimated to have caused roughly $40 million in damage to roads and other public infrastructure in North Dakota.

Burgum asked the President on May 22 to declare a major disaster. With July's declaration, the President ordered federal assistance to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the areas affected by flooding from April 1 to April 25, including 18 counties: Barnes, Cass, Dickey, Foster, Grand Forks, LaMoure, Logan, McIntosh, Nelson, Pembina, Ransom, Richland, Sargent, Sheridan, Steele, Stutsman, Traill and Walsh.

“We’re deeply grateful to President Trump for recognizing the hardship caused by significant flood damage to roads, bridges and culverts in North Dakota counties that were already heavily burdened by recovery costs from significant spring and fall flooding in 2019,” Burgum said. “This presidential disaster declaration will assist our local governments and agencies in recovering from extensive infrastructure damage, while also making resources available to help communities reduce the long-term risk of future flooding. We thank FEMA and the administration for their swift response to our request, as well as Senators Hoeven and Cramer and Representative Armstrong for advocating for this much-needed relief for North Dakotans.”

MItigation Matters: North dakota's drought conditions improve with precipitation events

Right, Zeina Abouelazm, a student at North Dakota State University, authored this month's edition of "Mitigation Matters." Zeina is pursuing a double major in communication and emergency management and has been interning with NDDES since June 1. During her internship, Zeina has worked on several projects with the agency's Planning Section, including developing a risk assessment tracker to use by the State Hazard Mitigation Team. She also has assisted with the state's COVID-19 response by working with state agencies and non-profit organizations to explore ways in which to reach immigrant communities to provide emergency information during the pandemic.

A few weeks ago, we enjoyed the cool breeze that comes with rain. Beyond providing such beautiful weather, the rains brought other benefits, including diminishing the risk of drought in North Dakota. However, the agriculture industry remains alert to any changes in forecast, particularly if the coming weeks do not bring adequate moisture. This can cause major impacts since droughts affect overall agriculture performance and the agricultural process.

Some of the major updates on the drought situation in North Dakota were discussed during the State Climate Office’s Weekly Drought Update, dated July 23, include:

  • Significant precipitation in portions of the state brought changes to the Abnormally Dry (DO) category in the U.S. Drought Monitor (see top graphic).
  • Even though the abnormally dry conditions were reduced by 20 percent compared to the previous week, Moderate Drought (D1) conditions expanded by 3 percent in southcentral N.D.
  • The Statewide Drought Severity and Coverage Index (DSCI) fell by 16 points. However, the Accumulated DSCI continued to grow, reflecting the accumulated impact reports coming from local experts (county extension agents).
  • The 14-day forecast shows wet conditions will continue for the eastern half of the state.
  • There is an enhanced possibility for wetter-than-normal conditions in western N.D. This is encouraging for regions in the abnormally dry and moderate drought categories.

Overall, North Dakota’s drought condition has improved drastically with recent precipitation. To better see these improvements, reference the “State-wide Precipitation Rankings” graphic above for the April-June 2020 timeframe.


State Radio Assistant Supervisor Katie Schmidt recently was spotlighted in a community outreach campaign featuring North Dakota emergency responders from Bismarck, North Dakota, in partnership with the Crisis Care Chaplaincy. The initiative, titled "Lights and Sirens," is intended to encourage community members to offer prayers for their emergency services personnel, particularly when they see the lights and sirens of emergency response vehicles while on the road.

The Crisis Care Chaplaincy is distributing prayer cards (pictured above) throughout Bismarck and Mandan during community events and emergency response agencies are hanging large banners in their facilities to remind them of their communities' support.

See a news story featuring State Radio Communications Supervisor Shanna Johnson explaining the campaign and how emergency dispatchers play a crucial role in communities' emergency response services.

Burgum announces formation of Burleigh-Morton COVID-19 Task Force as active cases climb

Gov. Doug Burgum announced the formation of a task force July 28 to prevent and mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in Burleigh and Morton counties including the Bismarck-Mandan metro area, which have seen sharp increases in COVID-19 cases recently.

Combined, the two counties accounted for 62 of the 157 new COVID-19 cases reported today by the North Dakota Department of Health. The two counties have a 14-day rolling average positive test rate of 4.12%, compared with 2.77% statewide. With 371 cases, the Burleigh-Morton area accounts for more than one-third of North Dakota’s 1,084 active cases.

Similar to the Red River Valley COVID-19 Task Force established in early May, the goal of the Burleigh-Morton COVID-19 Task Force is to work to prevent and mitigate the spread of COVID-19, dedicating state and county resources to assist in three primary areas: prevention measures and testing, contact tracing and support for isolation and quarantine.

“We’ve got a great game plan to follow, one that worked in our collaboration between Cass and Clay counties,” Burgum said. “With this combination of testing strategies, we also need education around prevention. We’re aiming to drive Burleigh-Morton’s positive rate below the statewide rate, and we want to do that as quickly as possible.”

An aerial view of a COVID-19 mobile testing site shows members of the Bismarck community entering the N.D. State Capitol grounds this June. Testing events are scheduled across the state and times and dates for future events are available at www.health.nd.gov/testnd and will be updated regularly. (N.D. National Guard photo)

Dispatch supervisors Shanna Johnson, Brandy Dahlin and Miranda Jangula, as well as State Radio Director Dan Donlin, presented Dey Muckle (third from left), of the Billings County Sheriff's Office, with the Mobile Operator of the Year Award for 2019.

state radio dispatchers present mobile operator of the year award to billings county Sheriff's deputy

Members of North Dakota State Radio had the chance to honor one of their emergency response partners July 7 in Medora where they presented the Mobile Operator of the Year Award for 2019 to Billings County Sheriff's Deputy Dey Muckle. The award is given to an emergency response partner who uses proper radio etiquette while talking to dispatchers and other units and also for maintaining professionalism during radio calls. Members of the State Radio staff said Dey has exemplified these traits during their interactions with him.

"Dey is always pleasant to work with and cares about his dispatchers. He is always willing to respond to any call and we appreciate his professionalism and dedication," said Shanna Johnson, communications supervisor.

To get a behind-the-scenes look at how State Radio assists emergency response agencies, take a look at this story, featuring Phil Peterschick, GIS Section chief, and Brandy Dahlin, communications supervisor with State Radio. Both team members discuss the importance of 9-1-1 addressing and how it's used by first responders to locate those needing help in an emergency.

NDDES, N.D. National Guard provided covid testing at Fraine barracks

The North Dakota Department of Health, N.D. National Guard and N.D. Department of Emergency Services in July partnered to set up a COVID-19 testing event for state employees and Guardsmen at Fraine Barracks in Bismarck. Because of this collaboration, 174 tests were administered, providing for the safety of employees, while bolstering the state's mission in mitigating and suppressing the spread of coronavirus.