Dear Mr. President:
On behalf of the State of Tennessee, we respectfully request that you declare a federal disaster in Bradley, Greene, Hamilton, and Washington counties as a result of the severe storms, flash flooding and tornadoes that struck the state beginning on April 25, 2011.
Governor Bill Haslam has requested federal disaster assistance to respond to the devastation caused throughout Tennessee due to this historic tornado outbreak, andwe expect a separate request will be forthcoming to respond to the flooding along the Mississippi River and its tributaries. Flooding in many of our communities will only get worse in the coming days, and the unprecedented river stages are threatening the entire levee system.
State and local officials are only beginning to be able to assess the level of damage to infrastructure, private property and our economy. Many of the communities affected by these storms and rising flood waters are the same areas devastated by the May 2010 floods. In addition to all of the homes and businesses destroyed by the tornadoes, the flooding along the Mississippi River is forecast to exceed the great flood of 1937 in some areas, and reach the third highest level on record in Memphis by May 10.
Federal assistance is critical to help our state and local governments initiate recovery efforts and to start repairing infrastructure. Like so many areas throughout the Southeast ravaged by these storms, our communities are overwhelmed by the destruction and need federal assistance. Public and Individual Assistance in Bradley, Greene, Hamilton, and Washington counties will help communities with debris removal and make victims eligible for a number of vital disaster assistance programs. The Tennessee delegation and state and local officials stand ready to work together with federal officials to make sure that Tennesseans receive the help they need to get back on their feet.
Thank you for your expedited consideration of our State's request, and we will provide you with more information about our State's needs as information is available.
Lamar Alexander, United States Senator
Bob Corker, United States Senator
Steve Cohen, Member of Congress
Stephen L. Fincher, Member of Congress
Marsha Blackburn, Member of Congress
Diane Black, Member of Congress
Jim Cooper, Member of Congress
Scott DesJarlais, Member of Congress
Chuck Fleischmann, Member of Congress
John J. Duncan, Jr., Member of Congress
Phil Roe, Member of Congress