By Brad Mosher
Mott will not only survive, but improve after sustaining millions of dollars in damage from a July 12 EF-1 tornado, according to the city’s mayor.
“We haven’t assessed all the issues yet. We are still working on it. But there is at least a million dollars plus damage to our city, with all that happened,” Troy Mosbucker said recently.
“We were lucky. We got a proper warning and took shelter. We were very lucky nobody got hurt.
“Getting 2.5 inches of rain in 20 minutes didn’t help either,” he added.
One of the biggest impacts on the community was the loss of power until 6:30 a.m. the next day, the mayor added. “That led to a lot of water damage.”
But, he saw how the community came together the next morning. “By six o’clock in the morning, we were hauling trees already. It was a steady line out to the landfill most of the day with people cleaning their yards up and cleaning up the damage.”
The city also got offers from other neighboring communities after the tornado, the mayor said. The city of Richardton called. The hospital in Hettinger also called me to see if we needed anything.
“The surrounding communities were excellent. You would not believe that people would turn up when a disaster hits. There were people here cleaning the city up that I had no clue who they were. There were people in the parks… people all over helping the elderly by cleaning up their yards and hauling everything out to the streets.
“It was just overwhelming to watch it all… seeing everybody come together. By Sunday morning, a lot of stuff was cleaned up,” the mayor said, noting that it would probably be more than a month before the city is really cleaned up.
He also praised the state’s Department of Transportation. “They came in and cleaned up the highway Friday night (July 12). On Saturday, they had a guy from Dickinson, from Richardton and one from Mott cleaning all day through out the town.
“Hats off to the DOT. Well, hats off to everybody I guess for showing up,” he added. “The communities and the surrounding communities responded well.“
Still the extent of the damage surprised the mayor. “It is just unreal to see all the trees that were uprooted and the damage that has been done to the community. It was amazing the loaders we had in town, the help that was in town. I mean, they were going to the people’s yards and dragging them out to the streets and they were hauled off. It didn’t matter what they were or where they were at they moved them.”
The forest of the fallen trees in the dump will be disposed of during the winter by burning them, the mayor said. “Every winter, we burn a pile of trees. You have got to get a permit from the state to burn it,” he said.
One of the things that will change is the city will focus on getting its siren working. “We have got to get them all so they work together. Right now, we have to manually run them. We are going to change that.
“We have three sirens now and we want to add one more at the fairgrounds/golf course. We want to get one button and they all would go off. Right now, we have to manually set each one of them.
“That is our top priority now – our sirens.”
According to the mayor, filing the paper work with the state to declare the community a disaster area will enable to the city to apply for grants. “We are going to fight for some state money to help with the repairs,” he added.