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Federal disaster declared after deadly storms in Tennessee

The declaration by Biden means federal disaster emergency assistance will be available for nine counties in the state hit by the deadly storms.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Tennessee Governor Bill Lee announced Tuesday President Joe Biden has granted an emergency declaration allowing for federal disaster emergency assistance for nine counties hit by the deadly storms that rolled through the Mid-South this weekend.

Lee announced Monday afternoon he issued Executive Order 94 for counties affected by tornadoes and severe weather.

The emergency declaration makes the following counties eligible for federal funding reimbursement for emergency measures in response to the disaster. 

  • Cheatham
  • Decatur
  • Dickson
  • Dyer
  • Gibson
  • Lake
  • Obion
  • Stewart
  • Weakley

The declaration also directs the Federal Emergency Management Agency to provide direct operational assistance, if necessary, to the declared counties.

RELATED: Thousands without heat, water after tornadoes kill dozens

“Our emergency officials, first responders, and law enforcement brought hope where there was none in the aftermath of these storms,” Gov. Lee said. “Our effort now will be to bring as much relief as possible to these devastated communities.”

Gov. Lee also asked for a Major Disaster Declaration for qualifying jurisdictions after local officials complete a thorough assessment of storm damage. That would make FEMA’s Public Assistance and Individual Assistance programs available to counties that qualify.

RELATED: MLGW hopes to have power restored Monday night after Friday's storms

Two lines of severe weather Friday evening into Saturday morning produced at least seven tornadoes across west and middle Tennessee, claiming four lives in the state, and leaving more than 150,000 people without power at the severe weather’s peak.

RELATED: Arkansas communities work together to clean up after deadly storms

The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency has this recovery web page available to help storm survivors find resources and support.

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Executive Order 94 declares a state of emergency to facilitate relief efforts and does the following: 

 Allows individuals to aid in storm damage cleanup;

  • Suspends restrictions on vehicles transporting emergency supplies to areas affected by severe weather;
  • Expedites special transportation permit approval for those providing services related to severe weather;
  • Gives commercial motor vehicle operators providing emergency assistance temporary exception from federal rules and regulations; 
  • Waives state residency requirements for individuals to participate in nutrition and child wellbeing programs; 
  • Directs insurance companies to assist policyholders experiencing weather-related losses and allows insurance professionals licensed in other states to provide service related to severe weather;
  • Permits health care professionals licensed in other states to provide health care services in Tennessee related to severe weather;
  • Allows pharmacists to dispense an extra 30-day supply of maintenance prescriptions as needed in response to severe weather; 
  • Permits issuance of temporary contractor licenses to assist victims of severe weather; 
  • Gives flexibilities for vacation lodging services to provide accommodations to victims of severe weather;
  • Waives fees for duplicate driver’s or photo identification licenses;
  • Waives state and county clerk fees for the issuance of lost or damaged motor vehicle titles;
  • Provides flexibilities for non-resident security guards and officers to secure affected areas; and
  • Encourages state agencies to assist individuals affected by mail disruption and displacement.

RELATED: 'Y'all pray for Mayfield': Kentucky town grieves in tornado aftermath

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