TEMA, FEMA visit Shelby County to survey storm damage


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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The cleanup continues nearly a week after those devastating storms hit Shelby County.

Saturday, teams from the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) visited some of the hardest-hit areas to get a better idea of the damage.

House after house, downed trees, limbs and power lines still litter Memphis neighborhoods.

John McClure is one of the lucky ones.

"My house is relatively untouched," he said. "It's a miracle. It really is."

His house was spared, but a giant 100-year-old Cherry Bark Oak tree that used to stand in his backyard was uprooted in those high winds, crushing the fence between his home and the one next door and just barely missing his neighbor.

"Had he been there five minutes later, the tree probably would have fallen on his car," McClure said.

The area where McClure lives on Reece Street off Walnut Grove Road in East Memphis was one of the hardest hit.

All along his street, massive, uprooted trees are still lying in yards nearly a week after the storm hit.

McClure's is one of the properties FEMA crews are scoping out this weekend to get a better idea of just how much monetary damage was done.

Gov. Bill Haslam will decide whether to move forward with the request for federal disaster relief, and ultimately, President Trump will make the final call.

"They're not going to give us a check tomorrow for the damage today," said Dale Lane, director of the Shelby County Office of Preparedness. "So we're blessed that we have the resources to get our city back up and our county back up and going, but down the road we definitely need the money back."

MLGW alone says its costs associated with the storm are already $12.4 million and rising.

That's on top of another $21 million in damage to government infrastructure throughout the county.

Whether FEMA aid for individuals will be available is another question.

Memphis Public Works crews say it could still take six to eight weeks for all the storm debris to be hauled away.


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