AUSTIN, Minn. (KTTC) – Governor Tim Walz visited Austin Saturday morning looking at the damages done during the mid-week snow storm.
Walz met with law enforcement, National Guard members, and elected officials to discuss the next steps for Freeborn and Mower county.
“This is pretty well oiled machine, it is organized, it is pretty focused; so by the time the sheriff decided they could no longer control traffic where they were down power lines they made calls,” stated Walz.
Walz declared a state of an emergency so the National Guard could activate soldiers to assist with safety of residents, but what shocked him was the fast response, “Within four hours the National Guard troops were on the ground patrolling those areas to re leave the local folks.”
Captain Robert Moccia, Commander of the 224th Transportation Company, said they were tasked with making sure they set up blockades around unsafe roads and help the utility company access the roads, “The energy companies can’t get to because of the vast number of power poles that are down.”
Freeborn and Mower Cooperative Services Jim Krueger said his utility team are working fast and safely to restore power, “As of Saturday morning we have 1,700 residents still without power. The height of the storm early Thursday afternoon we had about 8,200 power outages.”
As the poles continue to get replaced the question becomes, who pays for it all?
Walz says not many truly see the damage, “People look at this and we didn’t have the building blown down, we don’t see the massive flooding, but this is a very expensive proposition to build these back up.”
Walz hopes to take his concerns to to the federal level when President Donald Trump is in Minnesota on Monday.