Watch the full press conference in the player above
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Officials in Tipton County held a press conference Wednesday to provide an update on storm recovery efforts in Covington.
We now know that two tornadoes touched down in Tipton County Friday night. Tuesday, Tipton County EMA director Tommy Dunavant said the first tornado caused damage to islands in the Mississippi River, but the second tornado, an EF-3, was more than 3.5 miles wide.
On Wednesday, Dunavant said Governor Bill Lee requested the expedited major disaster declaration for governmental assistance and individual assistance that would benefit storm victims in Tipton County.
The emergency request was acknowledged by FEMA Tuesday night, putting Tipton County in the next stage of requesting relief. FEMA is evaluating damage but Dunavant noted that weather and widespread damage in the county is slowing down the process.
“We appreciate the governor escalating his request so quickly in order for the people of Covington, the town, businesses, and displaced residents to be able to get the assistance we need,” Dunavant said.
Over the last few days, hundreds have converged on Covington to help clean up the mess left behind by a tornado and care for the victims.
EMS students from Dyersburg Community College used rakes, shovels, and chainsaws to help the Covington community recover following Friday’s tornado outbreak.
More than 40 students showed up to help those who lost everything salvage what they could and throw out items that couldn’t be saved.
City officials said a disaster relief fund has been established in partnership with First United Methodist Church in Covington. The city has also created a GoFundMe to accept donations.
Officials say all funds received by the city of Covington will go to the disaster relief fund.
While many are doing what they can to help storm victims, Tipton County Sheriff Shannon Beasley shared a warning after two people were caught stealing in one of the hardest hit areas Tuesday night.
“Let me tell you, that’s probably some of the only possessions left that these people have and when you leave the roadway and go onto their property to get it, you’re stealing. Period. I told you you’d go to jail and I made an example of the two last night,” Beasley said.