LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska Lt. Gov. Mike Foley has signed a disaster declaration to make state emergency money available to pay for damage caused by the severe wind storms earlier December.

The governor’s office says the state declaration is required before Nebraska can request a federal disaster declaration for public assistance.

Foley signed the declaration at the direction of Gov. Pete Ricketts, who is out of the state.

The Dec. 15 storm knocked down power lines and trees around the state. State officials say they’re still conducting damage assessments.

Nebraska Emergency Management Assistant Director Erv Portis says the state will likely qualify for the federal government’s public assistance program but not its individual assistance program, based on the confirmed damage.