(WASHINGTON) U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) led a bipartisan letter to President Joe Biden urging him to swiftly approve Governor Bill Lee’s request for a major disaster declaration following the severe weather that occurred on March 31.
The severe thunderstorms and tornadoes in Tennessee caused 15 fatalities and dozens of injuries, affected power in over 102,000 homes and businesses, and produced significant damage to communities.
Senator Blackburn was joined by the entire Tennessee delegation: Senator Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), and Representatives Diana Harshbarger (R-Tenn.), Tim Burchett (R-Tenn.), Chuck Fleischmann (R-Tenn.), Scott DesJarlais (R-Tenn.), Andy Ogles (R-Tenn.), John Rose (R-Tenn.), Mark Green (R-Tenn.), David Kustoff (R-Tenn.), and Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.).
Read full the letter here or below.
Dear Mr. President:
We write to urge swift approval of Governor Bill Lee’s request for a major disaster declaration pursuant to the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act due to severe weather that occurred on March 31, 2023.
On the evening of March 31, 2023, numerous severe thunderstorms and tornadoes moved across Tennessee, inflicting damage throughout the state. The isolated storms eventually formed a squall line in eastern Tennessee before the front moved out of the state. Power outages impacted over 102,000 homes and businesses throughout 66 counties as a result of the storms. Strong winds on April 1, 2023, exacerbated power outages and hampered response, restoration, and recovery operations. Just before 6:00 PM, a tornado passed through Covington, Tennessee, in Tipton County, causing devastating damage to the community. The tornado inflicted widespread damage to homes and businesses and brought down numerous electrical lines, leaving thousands of residents there without power. Tragically, the storms throughout Tennessee—including seven confirmed tornadoes—caused 15 fatalities and injured dozens more.
To respond to this disaster, Governor Lee is specifically requesting Public Assistance for Cannon, Hardeman, Hardin, Haywood, Lewis, Macon, McNairy, Rutherford, Tipton, and Wayne Counties. Additionally, he is requesting the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program statewide. Governor Lee’s request is attached. On behalf of the State of Tennessee, we urge you to approve this request as soon as possible.
Our offices can provide you with any additional information you need.