Governor Bill Lee announced Thursday, April 22 that Federal Emergency Management Agency will grant his request for a Major Disaster Declaration to help several counties impacted during severe winter storms in the state from February 11 to February 19, 2021.

“A severe winter storm on top of a global pandemic is a very challenging situation,” Gov. Lee said. “I commend the first responders and local officials who worked to keep their communities safe in such dire circumstances, and I thank FEMA for their help in providing financial relief to our impacted counties.”

The 13 counties included in FEMA’s Major Disaster Declaration are Overton, Pickett, Putnam, Fentress, Jackson, Bedford, Cannon, Coffee, DeKalb, Moore, Scott, Shelby, and Smith.

FEMA’s award of a Major Disaster Declaration means the eligible county jurisdictions will be able to seek reimbursement through the federal public assistance program for emergency work and the repair or replacement of disaster-damaged facilities and infrastructure.

In mid-February, an Arctic air mass began moving through Tennessee with waves of freezing rain, heavy snow, ice, and very cold temperatures.

The severe winter weather caused a total of six fatalities and at the height of the storm, more than 20,000 Tennesseans were without power.

Local damage assessments afterward exceeded Tennessee’s federal threshold of $9,836,462.75 needed to ask FEMA for a joint review of damages, and ultimately to Gov. Lee’s request of FEMA for a Major Disaster Declaration.

For more information about FEMA’s PA program visit https://www.fema.gov/public-assistance-local-state-tribal-and-non-profit.

Myra M. Shird has been named the Federal Coordinating Officer for federal recovery operations in the affected areas. Additional designations may be made at a later date if requested by the state and warranted by the results of further damage assessments.

Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide.

United States Senators Bill Hagerty and Marsha Blackburn applauded President Joe Biden’s Major Disaster Declaration for the State of Tennessee.

Sen. Blackburn said, “After severe winter storms devastated Tennessee communities, I joined members of the TN delegation to call on the President to grant the governor’s disaster declaration request,” said Blackburn. “These federal funds will help our communities rebuild and recover.”

And Sen. Hagerty added, “Tennesseans once again showed resilience and came together to help communities affected by the winter storms in February. Many of the hard hit communities across the state are still facing challenges and rebuilding. I appreciate the federal funds allocated through this declaration to help Tennesseans recover fully.”

For more information regarding the Major Disaster Declaration visit Tennessee Emergency Medical Agency or Federal Emergency Medical Agency.