Alabama victims get $14M in federal help after January tornadoes

About three months after deadly, powerful tornadoes caused wide-spread damage in central Alabama, more than $14.4 million has been paid or approved in federal assistance. And some of that federal help is still available.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has paid more than $5.7 million in grants to homeowners and renters, and more than $1.4 million in assistance for other means, figures from the agency show. Also, the U.S. Small Business Administration has approved more than $7.2 million in low interest disaster loans to homeowners, renters and businesses.

The help goes to residents of Autauga, Coosa, Dallas, Elmore, Greene, Hale, Morgan, Mobile, Sumter and Tallapoosa counties that were effected by the tornadoes, straight-line winds and other forms of severe weather on Jan. 12.

Even though the March 16 application deadline to apply for assistance has passed, assistance is still available in some cases, said Issa Mansaray, a spokesman for FEMA.

“If you have received rental assistance and still are renting, you may be eligible for continued assistance,” he said. “We know there are people they may still be out of their homes.”

Seven people were killed when a tornado struck Autauga County in January.

Also, if you've gotten insurance payments, you need to inform FEMA of those payments. Assistance may be available if the insurance payments did not cover the full lose amount of the damages you suffered.

“The FEMA grants are not loans They do not have to be paid back,” Mansaray said. “They will not effect any other federal assistance you receive; VA payments, Medicare or social security.”

Local disaster offices have closed, but FEMA is operating a main office in Prattville where the recovery effort for the region is being coordinated.

“We will be here as long as we are needed, until the job is done,” Mansaray said.

More: Seven dead as tornado rips through Autauga County, Selma

To contact FEMA go online to or use the FEMA app on smartphones, or call 800-621-3322 between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. central time Monday through Friday.

The deadly tornado that touched down in Autauga County just after noon Jan. 12 causing seven deaths and at least 14 injuries was massive. Its path was almost a mile wide, packing winds of up to 150 mph and staying on the ground for an hour and a half while causing massive damage in five counties.

The National Weather Service office in Birmingham surveyed the track of the storm and determined that an EF3 twister touched down at 12:48 p.m. east of Vida in central Autauga County and dissipated at 2:08 p.m. one mile east of Penton in Chambers County.

The track was 76.67 miles long, with the path 1,500 yards wide at its widest. That path was about eight-tenths of a mile wide.

The tornado that struck Selma in January caused massive damage to homes and businesses.

The path covered portions of Autauga, Elmore, Coosa, Tallapoosa and Chambers counties. A supercell thunderstorm that formed ahead of a squall line spawned the Autauga County tornado. It was the same supercell that caused an EF2 tornado that struck Dallas County about a half hour earlier in the day. There were no serious injuries reported in the Selma storm.

That tornado had winds of 130 mph and caused widespread destruction in Selma. There were no fatalities in that tornado, which was on the ground for 22.72 miles and cut a path 800 yards wide at its widest point

The deaths in Autauga County happened in the Old Kingston area, an unincorporated community about 15 miles northwest of Prattville.

Contact Montgomery Advertiser reporter Marty Roney at

This article originally appeared on Montgomery Advertiser: Alabama victims get $14M in federal help after January tornadoes