WAVERLY, Tenn. (WZTV) — The Federal Emergency Management Agency and Tennessee Emergency Management Agency are starting their work Monday on preliminary damage assessments from deadly flooding over the weekend.
The agencies are taking a closer look at the devastation in Humphreys, Dickson, Hickman and Houston counties. During this process, TEMA and FEMA are determining the scope of the damage left behind by the catastrophic flash flooding Saturday.
The assessments are the first step in seeing if Tennessee could qualify for federal recovery assistance.
Sunday, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee said he plans to request a federal emergency declaration after the initial damage assessments are complete. He described the destruction as a “devastating picture of loss and heartache.” The governor’s hope is that the emergency declaration will be approved, funneling federal relief dollars into recovery efforts.
Homeowners, renters and businesses in Humphreys County that have uninsured losses from the Aug. 21 severe storm and flooding may apply for disaster assistance. Visit disasterassistance.gov or call 800-621-3362 (TTY: 800-462-7585).
While delivering remarks Sunday, President Joe Biden said his administration stands ready to offer the Waverly community support.
“I’ve asked the Administrator to speak to Governor Lee of Tennessee right away, and we will offer any assistance they need for this terrible moment,” President Biden said in part.
Tennessee’s United States Senators Marsha Blackburn and Bill Hagerty told reporters the needs for Humphreys County will be “tremendous” and they will back Governor Lee’s request for help.
“We’re going to do everything we can to help support Governor Lee,” Senator Hagerty said.
Monday marks the first joint assessment of the damaged area by TEMA and FEMA. As more damage information is compiled, TEMA may also request follow-up surveys with FEMA.
Multiple bridges and roadways in the impacted area are still shut down. The dangerous floodwaters and devastation also forced many people out of their homes. At least 93 people are staying in the American Red Cross shelter in Humphreys County.
School in Humphreys County has been called off for the rest of the week as 3,000 homes in the area are still without power.
Over the weekend, more than 17 inches of rain fell in just 24 hours in McEwen, breaking Middle Tennessee’s record for 24-hour rainfall. At least 18 people died in the historic, catastrophic floods, Waverly authorities confirmed.