HOW TO HELP
DeKalb-Jackson Long-Term Recovery Committee officials say monetary donations are still needed and can be sent to Community Action Agency of Northeast Alabama, P.O. Box 1487, Rainsville, AL 35986. Make checks payable to “VOAD” and on the memo line, indicate “Jackson or DeKalb tornado relief.”
HOW TO GET HELP
The DeKalb-Jackson Long-Term Recovery Committee announced Monday that a case manager for tornado recovery efforts in DeKalb and Jackson counties started Monday visiting the residences that were affected by the November tornado. Households that have no insurance or are underinsured, may qualify for up to $12,500 in assistance. For information call 256-510-8712.
Despite three deaths and an estimated $6 million in tornado damage in November, DeKalb and Jackson counties in Alabama did not meet the threshold for a presidential disaster declaration, leaving the burden of recovery to local communities.
Crews the last few days still are cleaning up storm debris along Alabama Highway 71 from the tornadoes, said two counties' emergency management agency officials who weren't surprised there was no federal declaration.
"What we're doing now is we're going into a long-term recovery," said Mike Ashburn, the EMA director in Jackson County. "Us and DeKalb are kind of going in together, trying to get some grant money to help some of the people who didn't have insurance."
Ashburn said that "in the short term," storm victims all have a place to live. Some were renters who found another place to live while others moved out of the area altogether, he said.
In DeKalb County, EMA assistant director Michael Posey said the lack of a declaration shows one positive note; at least most of the storm victims had insurance.
"We had quite a bit of damage — over $3 million in damage," Posey said. "It takes $6.7 million of uninsured losses [statewide]" to reach the state threshold to seek a presidential declaration.
DeKalb's uninsured losses are estimated in the "lower 200,000s," he said. "By chance, where it hit there were more insured people than uninsured people."
Posey said the two counties together had about $6 million in damage, with most of the tornado's path lying in DeKalb and its most deadly destruction where it touched down in Jackson County.
The tornado was an EF-2 storm when it touched down in Jackson County and tore one continuous 13.7-mile-long track from the Rosalie area through Ider in DeKalb County, where it briefly escalated to an EF-3 with winds of 145 mph, according to National Weather Service reports. Along the way, the storm reduced the Rosalie Plaza to rubble and obliterated surrounding structures, including one mobile home where three people perished and two others, including a 4-year-old boy, were injured.
As it cut northeastward, homes, chicken houses, barns and a day care building near Ider were destroyed, reports state. The seven members of the family that operated the day care — four adults and three minor teens — were sheltering inside. At least three of them were critically injured, officials said.
"Rosalie itself got hit very, very badly," said Todd Barron, National Weather Service warning coordination meteorologist at the agency's office in Huntsville. While the damage was severe, it was not widespread, he said.
The DeKalb-Jackson Long-Term Recovery Committee on Monday installed a case manager who will visit residences affected by the November storm to collect information for possible relief.
Case management and estimates are required before the Governor's Emergency Relief Fund can be sought, officials said.
Contact staff writer Ben Benton at email@example.com or 423-757-6569.