Tennessee congressman seeks disaster declaration for Shelby County following storms

Congressman Steve Cohen
Congressman Steve Cohen(WMC)
Published: Jul. 24, 2023 at 3:59 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - On Monday, Tennessee Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-9) wrote to Governor Bill Lee asking him to seek a disaster declaration for damage done to homes, businesses and utilities by the third round of serious storms to hit the region since June 25.

The request involves severe thunderstorms beginning July 18 that affected parts of Shelby County.

The letter reads in part:

“These severe thunderstorms had wind gusts of 80-90 miles per hour, causing widespread damage to utilities, traffics lights and trees, and leaving 138,000 residents without power. This is the third mass-outage event caused by strong storms since June 25, and the largest number of power outages since the February 2022 ice storm. On July 21, 2023, Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris declared a local state of emergency, citing extensive damage to homes, businesses, and public property.

“As of July 24, 2023, the preliminary damage estimate provided to the West Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) by Memphis Light, Gas and Water (MLGW) is $11,000,000. Additionally, mitigation efforts are underway for contaminated groundwater in the City of Germantown where diesel fuel from a generator leaked into the water system affecting approximately 4.5 million gallons of water.

“Since the amount of damages from this storm has already far exceeded the minimum requirement, I believe a swift request of disaster assistance is prudent to ensure that our county can receive the necessary support to adequately address the damages that have been incurred.”

See the entire letter here.

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