Tennessee lawmakers are asking the president to approve disaster relief funding for 10 counties affected by a tropical storm in October.
Sens. Lamar Alexander and Marsha Blackburn and Rep. Mark Green sent the letter Monday, a week after the governor requested FEMA money to deal with nearly $22 million worth of damages.
According to initial estimates, one of the hardest-hit areas was Decatur County, right on the border of West and Middle Tennessee. The county saw more than $3 million in damage from the storm, which trailed behind only Montgomery County to the north.
In the county seat of Decaturville, city alderman Jay England, who also runs a local bank, says evidence of the Oct. 26 storm is still plentiful: Uprooted trees sit on the side of the road. Some power lines are still down. So is a cell phone tower.
“For a small community with limited resources, it takes a lot to clean up,” England says.
England says he’s feels that the lingering damage in Decaturville, and much of the region, hasn’t gotten enough attention in the rest of state — in part because it’s about halfway between Nashville and Memphis, “just kind of perfectly located in a place where we’re forgotten by both news outlets,” he says.
But funding for cleanup and power restoration could follow soon if President Trump agrees to declare the event a “major disaster,” as the lawmakers urged in their letter.
“The storms that swept across the State of Tennessee beginning on Oct. 26 cost two Tennesseans their lives, blew over seven commercial tractor-trailers, shutdown the Tennessee River Bridge on Interstate I-40 for several hours, left nearly 65,000 Tennesseans without power and closed down nine school districts for nearly a week,” they wrote.