Shelby County, along with 11 others that were affected by Memorial weekend storms— or the "Tom Lee Storm," as nicknamed in Memphis— is a step closer to receiving federal disaster assistance, as today Governor Bill Haslam requested that President Donald Trump declare a major disaster in the state of Tennessee.
"Community leaders, emergency managers, first responders, local officials, and non-profits across Tennessee have worked tirelessly to help their neighbors recover from the impacts of the severe storms," Haslam said. "I believe we have demonstrated to federal officials the need for assistance exists and if granted will lessen some of the financial burden on local governments and utilities that have stretched their resources in storm response and recovery efforts."
Following a preliminary assessment of damages and related costs, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) teams quantified the damages to utilities alone in the 12 Tennessee counties to be $15.9 million.
While last week, Memphis Light, Gas, and Water officials estimated $15.1 million worth of that damage in its service area.
If public assistance is granted through FEMA, it would reimburse local and state governments, as well as certain private and nonprofit organizations for storm recovery costs like debris removal, emergency protective measures, and damage to infrastructure.
Additionally, individual assistance may become available for eligible Shelby County residents per the governor's request.