Bredesen requests Presidential disaster declaration for Clay, five other counties


NASHVILLE-Governor Phil Bredesen has asked President Obama to declare Chester, Clay, Decatur, Jackson, Overton and Wayne counties federal disaster areas following severe storms, heavy rains, flooding and flash flooding on July 15-17, 2009. 

Should this initial request for public assistance be granted, the six Tennessee counties would have access to varying levels of federal assistance.

“The assistance provided by these federal programs will help more quickly restore damaged infrastructure in these communities and provide some relief from the costs of their emergency responses,” said Bredesen. “I want to thank the local and state agencies that responded so quickly to obtain damage assessments to support this request to President Obama.”

Preliminary damage assessments estimate there are more than $7.46 million of costs eligible for federal assistance under the Stafford Act that have or will be incurred by state and local governments and public utilities. The most severe impacts to the communities were loss of power, impassable roads due to widespread debris and extreme road damage, and downed power lines. At the height of the power outages, approximately 6,000 services were without power.

In some areas, the severe road damages resulted in delays for emergency medical service vehicles on critical routes.  Roads were closed for up to four days in parts of the affected areas.  In Jackson and Overton Counties, there are roads that still remain impassable at this time.