Morgan qualifies for disaster relief from Jan. 12 tornado

Feb. 8—Morgan County residents and business owners adversely impacted by the Jan. 12 tornado are eligible to apply for federal disaster relief, according to Morgan County Emergency Management Director Brandy Davis.

Davis said the county qualified for federal individual assistance, which may include temporary housing assistance, basic home repairs and certain other uninsured disaster-related needs.

"We missed the public assistance threshold but (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) and the Small Business Administration toured the area on Jan. 27 and declared the county eligible for individual assistance," Davis said.

She said multiple homes in the Trinity area and along Alabama 20 were among the residences most severely impacted by the EF1 tornado. "A trailer park along Alabama 20 near Alabama 67 (was impacted), and at Jay's Landing four camper trailers were totaled and a few others severely damaged," she said.

In all, about 15 structures across the county were destroyed or heavily damaged, including a boat dock at Jay's Landing, Davis said.

"We had two injuries reported, one at Jay's Landing and another at SA Recycling," she said. "We're very lucky we only had a couple of injuries, and no deaths likes other counties in the state had."

A National Weather Service survey team determined the EF1 tornado locally had peak winds of 104 mph and a track of more than 30 miles. The Jan. 12 storm system left six people dead in south Alabama.

Davis said it is important for homeowners and business owners to register with FEMA to receive assistance.

"Even if your property was insured, it is important to register," she said. "They have a legal hotline you can possibly get assistance from if you have an issue with fraudulent contractors."

She said registering with FEMA also could result in financial assistance, "especially for businesses that suffered a financial ... loss."

Businesses in counties next to Morgan can also apply for assistance through the Small Business Administration, she said.

Davis said individuals and businesses seeking disaster assistance can apply at, or by using the FEMA mobile app or by calling 800-621-3362.

In Lawrence County, EMA Director Chris Waldrep said his county didn't reach the threshold for FEMA assistance, but at least three businesses reported financial losses from the tornado.

The Relax Inn on Alabama 157 lost its roof. Lawrence Medical Center lost a portion of its roof on the west side of the hospital, and LouAllen Farms on Lawrence County 177, west of Moulton, reported damage totaling at least $174,000.

LouAllen Farms owner Larry LouAllen said six of his greenhouses were destroyed and two others damaged. He said the greenhouses were not covered by his property insurance.

Waldrep said at least 21 residential structures across the county received major or minor damage from the storm. Several houses along Market Street had trees crash through their roofs.

Waldrep said businesses that sustained damages in the storm should call his office at 256-974-7641. "Give us a call and we perhaps can give you some guidance to help," he said.

In Limestone County, EMA officer Daphne Ellison said damage was minimal and the county did not qualify for any assistance.

"Four homes along U.S. 31 south of Calhoun (Community College) had some damage, and we had some trees down, but overall we were fortunate," she said.

Other counties approved for FEMA individual assistance after the Jan. 12 storms were Autauga, Coosa, Dallas, Hale, Sumter and Tallapoosa. or 256-340-2442. Twitter @DD_Wetzel.