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News / Nation & World

Tallahassee mayor says cost from May 10 tornadoes now tops $50 million as city seeks federal aid

By Associated Press
Published: June 2, 2024, 3:58pm

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Recovery from a May 10 tornado outbreak has cost Florida’s capital city $50 million so far, Tallahassee Mayor John Dailey said Friday.

Florida officials have requested that the Federal Emergency Management Agency declare a major disaster, which could make local government and individuals eligible for federal assistance. FEMA has not yet approved such a declaration.

Dailey told local news outlets that the city is working with President Joe Biden’s administration and FEMA so it can be reimbursed for storm response and individuals can get aid.

“That’s where we can be the most impactful as a community and a government, is working with FEMA,” Dailey told WTXL-TV.

Dailey said the total cost to the city will increase as city workers continue cleaning up debris.

The National Weather Service says six tornadoes struck the Florida Panhandle and Alabama on May 10, including three that hit parts of Tallahassee. Officials say that by some measures, the damage is worse than recent hurricanes in the area.

Two people died in the storms from injuries caused by falling trees, a 47-year-old woman and a 17-year-old girl.

The storm damaged Florida A&M University, Florida State University and other schools.

Volunteers continue to help residents clear debris and make repairs. Members of the Tallahassee Rotary Club on Saturday helped remove a tree from the roof of one home and cover the hole with a tarp.

“She had a limb straight through, like an 8-foot limb straight through her roof and we were able to pull that out,” Alasdair Roe, a member of the Rotary Club, told WTXL-TV.

Leon County commissioners voted to distribute $1 million in aid to help people and businesses in areas of the county outside Tallahassee who were affected by the storms and not covered by insurance. The program is providing up to $3,500 per household and up to $10,000 per business.

However, leaders have rejected a proposal by a Leon County commissioner to give $300 rebates on electric bills from Tallahassee’s city utility and the Talquin Electric cooperative to people who experienced lengthy power outages. They told WCTV-TV that such a move wouldn’t be legal.