Updated: 06/26/2014 8:51 AM
Created: 06/25/2014 4:58 PM KSTP.com
By: Cassie Hart
The Federal Emergency Management Agency is joining state officials to start assessing damage in counties affected by recent severe storms and flooding.
The preliminary damage assessment is the first step in determining if Gov. Mark Dayton will make a request for a presidential declaration of disaster.
If areas are included in a presidential disaster declaration, state and local government and certain organizations will receive help for emergency work and the repair or replacement of disaster-damaged facilities. This applies within the counties in the disaster area.
They will also receive assistance to help prevent or reduce long-term risk to life and property from natural hazards.
Minnesota Congresswoman Betty McCollum will also be touring several flood-damaged cities Thursday. She’ll be in Stillwater to check out the Stillwater Lift Bridge and will then be in Newport and St. Paul to meet with local leaders.
Meanwhile, the situation in Blakeley in Scott County is improving.
Xcel Energy officials on Wednesday said electricity service was fully restored by Tuesday night. But that didn't come easy as crews had access issues to 33 homes. They ended up having to install a temporary power line and were eventually able to restore service to those remaining homes.
Flooding and mudslides triggered by last week's storms knocked down power lines serving the area.
The Mississippi River is expected to crest at 20.5 feet on Thursday night in St. Paul. Right now, it's in major flood stage, KSTP Chief Meteorologist Dave Dahl said.
Dave said the St. Croix River is in minor flood stage and should crest by Friday night at 87.6 feet. He expects the Minnesota River to crest at 713.2 feet Thursday afternoon. That river is in major flood stage.
More heavy rain is in the forecast for Thursday night. Track KSTP weather here.