KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — President Biden on Wednesday approved a disaster declaration for parts of East Tennessee impacted by severe storms and an EF2 tornado in August, clearing the way for federal recovery funds to be made available to local organizations.
Tens of thousands in Tennessee were left without power by the line of storms on Monday, Aug. 7 and many areas suffered severe damage. Knoxville was hit by the first EF2 in the area since 1964, displacing hundreds of people.
The cost of damage to the Knoxville area was estimated at $3.8 million by the Knoxville Utilities Board.
Federal funds will now be available to state, tribal and local governments and certain nonprofit organizations. The funds, available on a cost-sharing basis, can be used for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by the storms.
Biden’s disaster declaration includes Tennessee counties of Bledsoe, Coffee, Cumberland, Jefferson, Knox, Loudon, Meigs, Rhea, Roane, and Van Buren.
Federal funding is also available for hazard mitigation measures statewide. Additional disaster declarations could be made at a later date if requested by the state and approved after damage assessments.
The storms were part of a larger weather system that moved across the eastern US which killed at least two people, canceled thousands of flights, and left over one million homes without power.
“We remain focused on our priority of ensuring necessary resources are available to communities recovering from this severe weather event,” said Tennessee Emergency Management Agency Director Patrick Sheehan. “Federal disaster assistance will bring economic relief to East Tennessee and support their on-going recovery process.”