State Of Emergency Declared In TN For Third Time In 2013
By Chris Cannon
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - For the third time since the start of 2013 the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency declared a state of emergency following a strong line of storms that moved through he state.
The declaration was made at 10:00 a.m. Wednesday morning when the scope of damage across the state became clear to emergency responders.
"It started in West Tennessee, there was damage, we had power outages in Memphis. All the way through middle Tennessee and this morning, when we declared the emergency, we still had that storm in east Tennessee. It hadn't actually reached some of those areas yet," said Jeremy Heidt from the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency.
Eight tornadoes in all hit Middle Tennessee during the early morning hours of Wednesday. Once the scope of all the damage became clear, the state of emergency was declared.
"Once we start getting requests for assistance from local governments, once we start seeing damage that's going to exceed the capabilities of locals, or the potential is there," Heidt explained.
This is the third time in January TEMA has declared a state of emergency.
"We use it when it's appropriate, it's a power given to us by the governor by his authorized representative," Heidt said.
The declaration is a key step in potentially filing for federal disaster aid after the storm. There are certain levels of uninsured damage that must occur before that aid is even a possibility.
Wednesday night, the American Red Cross opened a shelter at the Northside Church of Christ in the Whites Creek area of Davidson County.
"This is a safe place, available for anyone who needs to come in and rest, get some food, take a shower, whatever those needs are," said Beth Ferguson from the Red Cross.
As of early Wednesday evening no one had come to the shelter seeking assistance. But the shelter will be open through Thursday morning. A decision on whether to keep it open will be made later in the day.