ST. CLOUD - Yesterday (Thursday) President Barack Obama signed a federal disaster declaration for 18 Minnesota counties -- including Stearns and Benton -- slammed by severe weather last month.

Stearns County Emergency Management Director Erin Hausauer says the next step in the process is for local entities throughout the county to apply for reimbursement assistance.

Hausauer says the biggest costs were for debris clean-up and utility restoration.

She says the recovery effort will probably continue at least through the end of the year.