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FEMA in East Tenn. assessing February storm damage | News

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FEMA in East Tenn. assessing February storm damage

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is in East Tennessee, checking records to see how much area counties spent in response to February storms for possible reimbursement.

The agency is expected to be here about a week.

The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency said it has already completed an initial assessment of the damage and submitted it to FEMA. According to TEMA's report, 40 counties throughout the state surpass the threshold FEMA requires to apply for assistance.

Now FEMA is in East Tennessee to complete a joint preliminary damage assessment to confirm that TEMA's report is accurate. It'll work in conjunction with area emergency management agencies, according to TEMA spokesman Dean Fleenor.

For about a week, 11 teams will go through records of those 40 counties affected. Six of those teams are working on East Tennessee.

If FEMA determines that those counties do surpass the threshold, the state will apply for a Presidential Disaster Declaration. If this is granted, the county will find out the amount it gets for assistance.

The storm, which happened early Feb. 21, coated the Cumberland Plateau with ice, took down hundreds of trees, and left thousands of people without power for days. In all, the storm caused about $9.5 million worth of damage to Volunteer Energy Cooperative's system and broke more than 700 poles.

Storm damage far more widespread than a tornado strike

After taking a helicopter tour of the area following the round of storms, Gov. Bill Haslam said the damage to Cumberland County was more widespread than a tornado strike.

Editor's Note: The original report listed total damage at $950 million. That number is actually $9.5 million. WBIR regrets the error.


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