Severe Weather and Tornado Recovery Resources

A severe storm system traveled across the state from March 31 to April 1, 2023. West and Middle Tennessee suffered devastating impacts from widespread tornadoes, severe storms, and damaging winds. This page offers resources for those recovering and will be updated regularly.

Federal Disaster Assistance 

On April 7, 2020, President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. declared a Major Disaster for the state of Tennessee as a result of severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds, and flooding that occurred from from March 31 to April 1, 2023.

This declaration makes federal funding available to affected individuals in Cannon, Hardeman, Hardin, Haywood, Lewis, Macon, McNairy, Rutherford, Tipton and Wayne counties. 

If you have a homeowner’s policy, file your insurance claim immediately before applying for disaster assistance. Get the process started quickly. The faster you file, the faster your recovery can begin. Take photos and videos of all damage before you start cleaning up.

To apply for assistance, visit or call 800-621-3362 (800-462-7585 TTY). The helpline is available from 6 a.m. to midnight Central Time and is accessible in most languages. If you use a relay service such as video relay service (VRS), captioned telephone service or others, give FEMA the number for that service.

You will need the following to apply for assistance:

  • A current phone number where you can be contacted
  • Your address at the time of the disaster and the address where you are now staying
  • Your Social Security Number
  • A general list of damage and losses
  • Banking information if you choose direct deposit
  • If insured, the policy number or the agent and/or the company name

The deadline to apply for FEMA assistance and a low-interest disaster loan from the SBA is Tuesday, June 6, 2023. The last day for small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives and most private nonprofit organizations to apply for an SBA economic injury loan is Monday, Jan. 8, 2024.

Disaster Recovery Centers serving survivors of the recent storms and tornadoes will begin closing Saturday, May 13. But FEMA specialists are still available to answer your questions, provide updates about your case and direct you to federal, state and community programs and assistance.

Three Mobile Disaster Recovery Centers in Haywood, Lewis and Rutherford counties will close permanently at 5 p.m. Saturday, May 13. Three other recovery centers in McNairy, Tipton and Wayne counties will remain open for another week, until 5 p.m. Saturday, May 20.

Disaster Recovery Centers are a one-stop shop where disaster survivors can get information and advice about community, state and federal agencies and other available assistance. They are also accessible to people with disabilities and those with access and functional needs. They have accessible parking, ramps and restrooms.

The centers are staffed with specialists who can help you update your FEMA applications and learn about Tennessee state and community programs and other available assistance. You may visit any Disaster Recovery Center; no appointment is needed. Find a center here:

Understanding Your FEMA Letter

Tennessee residents who applied for assistance from FEMA for the recent severe storms and tornadoes will receive a determination letter from FEMA. It may say you are ineligible for assistance, but that is not a denial. Applicants are given a reason for the ineligibility and advised about what to do to appeal the decision. Often, they need only send more information. You have 60 days from the date of your FEMA determination letter to appeal the decision.

How to Appeal FEMA’s Decision

An appeal is a written request to FEMA to review your application for disaster assistance. It is also an opportunity to provide new or additional information not previously submitted that may affect FEMA’s decision. You may appeal any FEMA decision about your application for Individual Assistance. For example, you may appeal your initial eligibility decision, the amount or type of assistance FEMA provided, late applications, requests to return money, or a denial of Continued Temporary Housing Assistance. Learn about the appeal process at

  • The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering low-interest disaster loans. Homeowners, renters, nonprofit organizations and businesses approved for these loans have up to one year from the date of their first disbursement to begin making payments. The interest is zero percent during this deferment period and interest will begin accruing when the payment becomes due.
  • The disaster declaration covers Cannon, Hardeman, Hardin, Haywood, Lewis, Macon, McNairy, Rutherford, Tipton and Wayne 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 (EIDLs): Bedford, Chester, Clay, Coffee, Crockett, Davidson, Decatur, DeKalb, Fayette, Henderson, Hickman, Jackson, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Madison, Marshall, Maury, Perry, Shelby, Smith, Sumner, Trousdale, Warren, Williamson and Wilson in Tennessee; Lauderdale, in Alabama; Crittenden and Mississippi in Arkansas;  Allen and Monroe in Kentucky; and Alcorn, Benton, Tippah and Tishomingo in Mississippi.
  • There is no prepayment penalty, and borrowers can begin making loan payments during the deferment period if they choose. Some FEMA applicants may be referred to the SBA to apply for a disaster loan. Long-term, low-interest disaster loans for homeowners, renters, nonprofits and businesses may be available to cover losses not fully compensated by insurance or other sources.
  • Homeowners and renters should submit an SBA disaster home loan application even if they are not sure they will need or want a loan. There is no obligation to take all or part of an approved loan. If SBA cannot approve the application, SBA will refer you to FEMA’s Other Needs Assistance program for possible additional assistance. However, failure to return the application may disqualify you from other possible FEMA assistance and other grants or services.
  • To apply online, or to download applications, go to You may call SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 or email for more information or to have a loan application mailed to you. For people who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech disability, dial 711 to access telecommunications relay services. Completed paper loan applications should be mailed to U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155. You may also apply with the help of an SBA representative or leave your loan application at a Business Recovery Center listed below.
  • The SBA disaster loan deadline to apply for property damage is June 6, 2023. The deadline to apply for an economic injury disaster loan is Jan. 8, 2024.
  • SBA Business Recovery Centers are open to assist business owners and nonprofit organizations with their loan applications; homeowners and renters may also visit the centers for assistance. The centers are staffed with only SBA customer service representatives.

The IRS has extended to deadline to file federal income taxes for individuals, households and businesses affected by the March 31 to April 1 Tennessee storms and tornadoes in Cannon, Hardeman, Hardin, Haywood, Lewis, Macon, McNairy, Rutherford, Tipton and Wayne counties. That means you have until Monday, July 31, 2023, to file returns. More details here.

Additional Resources

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. No government agency charges application fees. 
  • Con artists posing as government employees, insurance adjusters, law enforcement officials, or bank employees. Confirm credentials by calling the agencies if necessary.
  • Organizations with names similar to government agencies or charities.
  • Limited time offers. Don’t be pressured to make a decision on the spot or to sign anything without having enough time to review it.
  • Fake rental listings. If the offer sounds too good to be true or the property owner can’t show you the property beforehand, it’s a bad sign.
  • Be wary of price gougers. Look for sudden, dramatic increases in the price of essential goods such as food, fuel, and lodging right before, during, or after a natural disaster. Complaints about price gouging can be filed with the Tennessee Division of Consumer Affairs at
  • Disaster survivors should be aware that con-artists and criminals may try to obtain money or steal personal information through fraud or identity theft after a disaster. In some cases, thieves try to apply for FEMA assistance using names, addresses and Social Security numbers they have stolen from survivors. Learn about protecting your private information at
  • More disaster resources are available at


The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and is a free resource for anyone experiencing a mental health emergency.  You can call or text 988 or chat with  Calls, texts, and messages are routed to trained crisis counselors in Tennessee who can provide support and guidance and can connect you with appropriate community supports.  You can also visit for more information.

SAMHSA’s Disaster Distress Helpline provides 24/7, 365-day-a-year crisis counseling and support to people experiencing emotional distress related to natural or human-caused disasters. This toll-free, multilingual, and confidential crisis support service is available to all residents in the United States and its territories. Stress, anxiety, and other depression-like symptoms are common reactions after a disaster.  Call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 to connect with a trained crisis counselor at no cost.

Residents in the affected counties are now able to apply for benefits from the Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. D-SNAP benefits are provided through an electronic debit-like card and can be used to purchase food items at grocery stores and other authorized retailers who accept electronic benefit transfer, or EBT. These cards will be mailed to qualifying families who are approved for the program.

Families who meet the qualifications for disaster assistance may apply online at the D-SNAP application page: or visit a Tennessee Department of Human Services’ county office. More information is available at

Disaster Unemployment Assistance is available to individuals whose employment or self-employment was impacted by the March 31 to April 1 Tennessee storms and tornadoes. Individuals can apply to the state for disaster unemployment benefits at You may also call 877-813-0950 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. CDT Monday to Friday. The deadline to apply is Wednesday, May 10, 2023.

Before hiring a professional such as a contractor, consumers should first verify that the individual is properly licensed to work in Tennessee by visiting 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

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.

The Tennessee Region of the American Red Cross is directly supporting tornado relief efforts in the State,

The Salvation Army is providing food, drinks, emotional and spiritual care, and other emergency services to disaster survivors and rescue workers after two weeks of severe weather and strong tornadoes. When you support Salvation Army disaster services, 100% of your donation is applied to the disaster relief operation you select.  And The Salvation Army never applies an administrative fee to any disaster gift, you can support their services here.

If you live in Tennessee and want to volunteer to help tornado survivors, please contact Tennessee Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (TN VOAD) at

Volunteers can also reach out to the American Red Cross to get connected with opportunities in your area. Visit,