Updated: 06/26/2014 10:09 PM
Created: 06/26/2014 1:40 PM KSTP.com
By: Jennie Olson
President Barack Obama has been briefed by his national security team about the widespread flooding situation in Minnesota and expects to hear more from Gov. Mark Dayton during a two-day stay in the soggy state.
White House officials say Obama learned more Thursday about the flood issues that have plagued Minnesota from north to south after a snowy winter and spring filled with sustained rains.
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM) and FEMA will conduct damage assessments in counties affected by recent severe storms and flooding. The preliminary damage assessment is the first step in determining if Governor Mark Dayton will make a request for a presidential declaration of disaster.
Dayton planned to provide firsthand information to the president. The Dayton administration is currently preparing a federal disaster request that could eventually free up federal aid.
Obama Press Secretary Josh Earnest says "the president is going to want to hear that Gov. Dayton is getting the kind of support he needs."
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. They will also receive assistance to help prevent or reduce long-term risk to life and property from natural hazards.
Minnesota Congresswoman Betty McCollum is also 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.
More heavy rain is in the forecast for Thursday night. Track weather here.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.