December Severe Weather
On December 10-11, a line of severe storms and tornadoes swept across the state and resulted in fatalities, damaged structures and residences in more than 20 counties, and disrupted power and water utility operations. This page offers resources for those recovering and will be updated regularly.
Federal Disaster Assistance
President Biden has designated 12 Tennessee counties to receive FEMA’s Individual Assistance program through a Major Disaster Declaration for the deadly tornado outbreak on Dec. 10, and Dec. 11, 2021.
The Tennessee counties named in the Major Disaster Declaration are Cheatham, Davidson, Dickson, Gibson, Henderson, Henry, Lake, Obion, Stewart, Sumner, Weakley, and Wilson.
FEMA is still reviewing data assessment data in determining whether the counties will be eligible for the Public Assistance program.
Individuals in the declared counties can apply now for direct assistance through FEMA’s IA program.
Individuals can apply for FEMA’s IA program as follows:
1. Online at DisasterAssistance.gov; or,
2. By phone at 1-800-621-3362 (TTY: 800-462-7585).
Those eligible for FEMA’s IA program may receive help with rental assistance, the repair of homes and replacement of personal property, and other uninsured or under-insured losses from the disaster. FEMA’s application phone number is available from 6 a.m. until 10 p.m., Central, and multilingual operators are available. More information on FEMA’s IA program is at fema.gov/assistance/individual.
The Major Disaster Declaration also makes FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Program available to all Tennessee counties. Grants provided through the Hazard Mitigation Program can provide reimbursement assistance for projects that prevent or reduce the long-term risk to the loss of life and property from natural hazards.
Low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) are available to businesses and residents in Tennessee following the announcement of a Presidential disaster declaration due to the severe storms, straight-line winds, and tornadoes on Dec. 10-11, 2021.
The disaster declaration covers Cheatham, Davidson, Dickson, Gibson, Henderson, Henry, Lake, Obion, Stewart, Sumner, Weakley, and Wilson counties in Tennessee, which are eligible for both Physical and Economic Injury Disaster Loans from the SBA. Small businesses and most private nonprofit organizations in the following adjacent counties are eligible to apply only for SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans: Benton, Cannon, Carroll, Chester, Crockett, Decatur, DeKalb, Dyer, Hardin, Hickman, Houston, Humphreys, Macon, Madison, Montgomery, Robertson, Rutherford, Smith, Trousdale and Williamson in Tennessee, Allen, Calloway, Christian, Fulton, Graves, Hickman, Simpson and Trigg in Kentucky, and New Madrid and Pemiscot in Missouri.
The SBA’s Business Recovery Centers are open as indicated below until further notice. FEMA will have staff on site to answer questions about Individual Assistance.
SBA District Office
2 International Plaza Drive ,Suite 500 Nashville, TN 37217
Hours: Monday – Friday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Closed: Saturday and Sunday
Weakley County Professional Development Center
8250 Highway 22, Dresden TN 38225
Hours: Monday – Friday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Closed: Saturday and Sunday
Volunteers can connect with Tennessee Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster at www.tnvoad.org/donate/
In times of disaster, financial donations are the best way to aid those in need. Cash can be used immediately in response to a crisis, and allows disaster relief organizations to purchase exactly what is needed, when it’s needed. Cash gives relief organizations the means to procure supplies near the affected area, which cuts down on transportation time and cost. Monetary contributions also support local economies and ensure that businesses can operate when relief supplies diminish.
Charity Navigator lists many non-profit organizations supporting the tornado relief efforts in Tennessee and other states impacted over the weekend.
D-SNAP and ECA
The Tennessee Department of Human Services (TDHS) has received federal approval making new disaster relief assistance available to Tennesseans who suffered during the severe storms of December 10-11, 2021. Starting Monday, February 14th, qualifying families can apply for Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP) benefits and the Families First/Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Emergency Cash Assistance (ECA) program. More information here: tn.gov/humanservices/news/2022/2/11/assistance-available-for-victims-of-december-severe-weather.html
American Red Cross
The American Red Cross continues to serve those affected by the recent severe weather. Emergency assistance is available to individuals whose homes were destroyed or majorly impacted. For more information, please contact the American Red Cross by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
You can also do your part to support the tornado recovery by scheduling a blood donation. Make an appointment at redcross.org/give-blood
Tennessee Statewide Crisis Phone Line
Call 855-CRISIS-1 (855-274-7471) to speak with a caring, trained mental health professional, 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week, if you are experiencing a mental health emergency. You can also text TN to 741741.
Rx Open provides information on the operating status of healthcare facilities in areas impacted by a disaster. Visit their website at rxopen.org/
Disaster Unemployment Assistance
Workers whose jobs were impacted by December tornadoes that caused damage in twelve Tennessee counties can now apply for Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) through the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development (TDLWD). More information here.
The Department of Revenue wants to remind Tennessee residents impacted by December’s severe weather that they are potentially eligible for sales tax refunds on home appliances, home furniture, and home building supplies, as they rebuild after storms. More information is available here.
While many people seek to help during times of disaster, unfortunately there is also an increased risk for scams and fraud. Watch out for upfront fees to help you claim services, benefits, or get loans. The Tennessee Division of Consumer Affairs can be reached at (615) 741-4737 or online at www.tn.gov/consumer.
The Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance licenses many of the professionals who play a role in rebuilding, including contractors, home inspectors, and insurance agents, among others. If you witness unlicensed activity or other potential violations of laws and rules involving our licensees, visit www.tn.gov/commerce to file a complaint.
Filing Insurance Claims
After a disaster, file your claim as soon as possible. Call your insurance company or agent with your policy number and other relevant information. Your policy may require that you make the notification within a certain time frame. Save all receipts, including those from the temporary repairs covered by your policy. TDCI’s Insurance Division can be reached at (615) 741-2218 or online at www.tn.gov/commerce.
Before hiring a professional such as a contractor, consumers should first verify that the individual is properly licensed to work in Tennessee by visiting www.verify.tn.gov to conduct a license check. Keep a record of your property damage and any repairs made to your property.
If you are dealing with a company or person who promises to remove debris from your property, ask them to list the services they will provide in writing. The Tennessee Board for Licensing Contractors can be reached at (615) 741-8307 or online at www.tn.gov/commerce.
Always buy from a licensed seller and do your due diligence before you buy. The Tennessee Motor Vehicle Commission can be reached at (615) 741-2711 or online at www.tn.gov/commerce.