Tag Archives: disasters

Five more counties eligible for federal disaster relief for June storms

News release from the governor’s office:
NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today announced that five counties have been added to the federal disaster declaration after severe weather on June 5-10, 2014. A total of 23 counties are now included in the disaster.

State and local governments and electrical utilities spent nearly $10 million in response to, and recovery from, the wind damage and flash-flooding impacts.

Claiborne, Gibson, Giles, Haywood and Weakley counties have been determined to be adversely affected and qualified for federal assistance to local governments. Damage assessments by state and federal emergency management previously resulted in declarations for Anderson, Bledsoe, Carroll, Decatur, Henry, Hickman, Houston, Lawrence, Lewis, Madison, Marion, Maury, McNairy, Moore, Perry, Roane, Sequatchie, and Tipton counties.

Declared counties receive federal assistance that provide reimbursement for 75 percent of eligible disaster-related emergency and recovery costs. The state will provide local governments with half – or 12.5 percent – of the required local cost share. The presidential disaster declaration also includes FEMA’s hazard mitigation grant program on a statewide basis.

“Flooding is one of the worst disasters to experience as a community,” Haslam said. “I’m glad these additional counties will be able to use the assistance to recovery more quickly than otherwise possible.”

Three fatalities were attributed to the severe weather and flooding. Two deaths occurred in Lawrence County and another in Hickman County.

The National Weather Service confirmed two tornado touchdowns were part of the storm system. The first tornado, an EF-1 with wind speeds in excess of 80 mph, left a 12-mile debris path across Lake and Obion counties on June 7. The other confirmed tornado, rated an EF-0, touched down in Kingston, Tenn.

“FEMA has been a great partner with the state,” Deputy Commissioner for TEMA and Homeland Security Advisor David Purkey said. “We’re pleased with the progress that has been made since the initial declaration.”

Teams of public assistance specialists from TEMA and FEMA have been meeting with local governments to get them started with the disaster recovery reimbursement process.

The disaster declaration provides FEMA’s public assistance to the declared counties for debris removal, emergency protective measures, and rebuilding and repairing roads, bridges, water control facilities, buildings, utilities and recreational facilities.

Haslam tours tornado damage in Lincoln County

Gov. Bill Haslam toured the heavily damaged area around South Lincoln Elementary School Wednesday and told those hit hardest that help was on the way, reports The Tennessean.

Across from the street from the school, he teetered in his cowboy boots as he surveyed Kaye Crowley’s home where a tree had crushed her rec room, the wind ripped the ceiling off her bedroom and her pool, where an RV had been tossed.

“We’ll do everything we can to help you guys,” Haslam told her.

She worried about the cost to replace the fence that surrounded 200 acres of her farmland, which wouldn’t be covered by insurance.

“It’s not something that your average family farm is going to be able to absorb,” she said.

Haslam’s on-the-ground visit in Lincoln County followed a helicopter tour of the area, two days after an EF-3 tornado destroyed dozens of homes and killed at least two people.

“It’s incredible, given the strength of the storm, that more people didn’t get hit,” Haslam said after the aerial tour.

Once on the ground, Lincoln County Sheriff Murray Blackwelder asked Haslam for continued aid from the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency and from state troopers, who helped keep the hardest-hit areas secure.

Before he left Lincoln County, Haslam spoke to the media in front of South Lincoln Elementary School. He peered into the building through shattered window panes.

“You literally see people whose lives were turned upside down,” he said of his tour of the area. “The main thing I wanted to do today is to make sure that we as a state are doing everything that we can to help.”

Note: This updates, expands and replaces earlier post.

Feds grant gov’s request for disaster aid to eight TN counties

News release from governor’s office:
NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam announced today the federal government will provide public assistance to eight counties due to the severe winter weather that brought snow, ice and sleet accumulations to the state from March 2 to March 4, 2014.

The presidential disaster declaration will allow government entities and certain private non-profits in Carroll, Cheatham, Dickson, Haywood, Houston, Madison, Shelby and Tipton counties to apply for reimbursement of specific expenses related to disaster response and recovery.

“Local governments, volunteer organizations and electrical cooperatives responded to the needs of the communities when it was needed,” Haslam said. “This assistance will relieve some of the financial costs to these counties as they recover from this winter emergency.”

State and local governments, and electrical utilities, spent more than $12,232,215 in their response and recovery actions before, during and after the winter storm.

The federal assistance program will allow eligible entities in the designated counties to receive a 75 percent reimbursement for costs related to debris removal, emergency protective measures, and repairing roads, bridges, water control facilities, buildings, utilities and recreational facilities.

A powerful cold front moved into Tennessee on Sunday morning, March 2, bringing significantly colder temperatures and winter precipitation that did not end until the early evening of Monday, March 3. Freezing rain and ice were common over parts of northwest and north central Middle Tennessee with accumulations of one-quarter to one-half inch. The ice accumulation brought down tree limbs and power lines causing several power outages.

This is Tennessee’s first presidential disaster declaration since 2012 when severe storms brought tornadoes, straight-line winds and flooding through East Tennessee on Feb. 29.

For more updates regarding the state’s response, visit the TEMA website at www.tnema.org.

Note: The White House news release on the disaster declaration is below.
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Governor seeks disaster designation for nine TN counties

News release from governor’s office:
NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today requested a presidential disaster declaration for nine counties as a result of extreme winter weather on March 2-4, 2014.

The federal assistance programs would provide access to a 75 percent reimbursement of the eligible costs to Carroll, Cheatham, Dickson, Fayette, Haywood, Houston, Madison, Shelby, and Tipton counties. This request also includes the hazard mitigation program on a statewide basis.

“This storm had a major impact on the state, and local and state agencies, voluntary organizations and electrical cooperatives planned and responded to a degree that saved both life and property,” Haslam said.

A powerful arctic cold front moved into Tennessee on Sunday morning, March 2, 2014, bringing significantly colder temperatures and winter precipitation that did not end until the early evening of Monday, March 3. Significant snow and sleet accumulations were recorded with some lesser amounts of ice/freezing rain. Peak power outages reached to over 75,000 customers, some of whom were without power for up to six days.

Schools, private businesses, and local and state operations and services, including interstate commerce and tourism, were greatly affected by this winter storm. A lack of power forced business, government, university, K-12, and daycare closings.

The State, local governments and electrical utilities spent more than $12,232,215 in preparation for, response to, and recovery from the storm’s impact.

Haslam seeks public assistance for all the counties in the request for debris removal, emergency protective measures and repairing roads, bridges, water control facilities, buildings, utilities and recreational facilities.

FEMA Funding Flap Impacts TN

Corker Says Don’t Worry
Despite high-level warnings to the contrary, U.S. Sen. Bob Corker said April’s tornado victims shouldn’t worry about getting long-term disaster relief from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, according to the Chattanooga TFP.
“I don’t see any way people are going to be left hanging,” he said Wednesday.
FEMA Director Craig Fugate told reporters on Monday that money designated for long-term, post-tornado rebuilding projects in Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia would be diverted to more immediate needs for Hurricane Irene victims.
Based upon FEMA’s current funding levels — less than $1 billion and running low, officials said — any work orders that aren’t in the pipeline could be at risk unless Congress allocates additional dollars. Already-approved FEMA projects are safe, Fugate said.
Corker, a Republican who routinely criticizes federal intervention and once said “you should never vote ‘no’ on spending reductions,” took a different approach Wednesday while offering few specifics for victims reeling from the tri-state region’s deadliest-ever natural disaster in April.

Nashville Flood Buyouts at Risk?
Dozens of Nashville flood victims could face delays in receiving government buyouts after the Federal Emergency Management Agency placed a freeze on long-term disaster relief spending this week on the heels of Hurricane Irene, reports the Tennessean.
Metro has completed two rounds of buyouts since the May 2010 flood that pummeled Nashville and its neighboring counties. But three additional rounds of buyouts are still in the application process, and owners of those 118 properties remain in the waiting phase.
Mayor Karl Dean’s spokeswoman, Bonna Johnson, said Metro was working with state and federal officials to determine the impact of the freeze on Metro’s buyout program.
“Mayor Dean is concerned that a freeze in FEMA funding could mean delays in the current buyout program and could limit any future program,” Johnson said.