SLAYTON, Minn.-- Severe flooding in southwest Minnesota has caught the attention of everyone including state legislators, who are working to figure out how they can best help these communities.

Governor Mark Dayton and Senator Tina Smith stopped in the city of Slayton on Friday and assessed flood and storm damage in the area.

After each area's assessment, they sat down with community member and listened to residents' concerns. 

Sen. Smith said she witnessed destruction to both farmlands and homes, damages that strengthened the seriousness of the situation. 

"It's affecting the whole community in all sorts of different ways and we're here today to see it first-hand," said Smith. "Then we can go back and be helpful, and help to aid the recovery as quickly as we possibly can."

The group visited Murray, Lyon and Redwood Counties. 

Slayton City residents came out to voice their concerns and struggles, in hopes that necessary steps will be made quickly.

Residents spoke of families being trapped on an island, challenging rescues and transportation methods, and damaged property.

Murray County Deputy Sheriff Heath Landsman said he believed the conference helped paint a better picture for legislators.  

"They know that it's bad," said Landsman. " And they know that there's many communities and townships that are affected by this very severely."

Mason Township Board Member Jon Hoyme said the governor's visit will provide some relief for Murray County residents.  

"It's going to be a battle going forward, we've got a ton of our townships that are gone or partially gone," said Hoyme. 

 " And so knowing that there's help available is fantastic!" 

Dayton declared a state of emergency Thursday for much of Minnesota because of severe weather in recent weeks.

Homeland Security and Emergency Management Director Joe Kelly also attended the conference and discussed plans for moving forward. 

Dayton said Kelly's discussion on how people would be reimbursed will move at a slower rate. 

" He emphasized the importance of people documenting what they've experienced and what the results are," said Dayton.

" That they can then apply for reimbursement, it's going to take some time, it's a slower process."

Emergency chiefs said they will visit the area again in a week and a half to quantify damages, but until then the community will continue to help one another through these tough times.

--KEYC News 12