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Press release from Gov. Bev Perdue’s office, released March 5:

Emergency management teams assess tornado-damaged areas

RALEIGH – Gov. Bev Perdue is requesting assistance from the U.S. Small Business Administration for Cabarrus, Cherokee and Mecklenburg counties following the severe weather and tornadoes that struck over the weekend.

“This is the second round of devastating storms already this year,” Gov. Perdue said. “We will do everything possible to ensure that those who suffered damages from the tornadoes will get any possible aid so they can get back in their homes and resume their lives.”

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Local and state emergency management teams are out today (Monday) with the SBA staff surveying the extent of the tornado damage in the hardest hit areas.  Teams are expected to look at 170 homes in Cabarrus and Mecklenburg counties and dozens of homes and businesses in Cherokee County. The National Weather Service confirmed one EF2 tornado swept across Cherokee County Saturday, while another struck near the Mecklenburg and Cabarrus county line.

The formal survey is the first step in determining what areas may qualify for state and/or federal funding assistance.

If the assessments exceed the threshold set forth in N.C. General Statute 166A, the governor may issue a state emergency declaration. The state declaration paves the way for storm survivors to seek state funds to help them recover.

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Once the assessments are complete and Gov. Perdue’s request is approved, that clears the way for SBA to provide low-interest loans to storm victims in eligible counties. The SBA is the agency that can provide low interest loans for homeowners, renters and businesses that suffered damage from the storms.

Severe thunderstorms and tornadoes rolled across the state Friday evening and Saturday as remnants of the super cell that devastated several Midwest communities earlier in the week. While no life-threatening injuries have been reported, dozens of homes and several businesses were destroyed or damaged in the three counties.

Angie Newsome

Angie Newsome is the executive director and editor of Carolina Public Press. Contact her at (828) 774-5290 or e-mail her at anewsome@carolinapublicpress.org.

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