Preliminary estimates of damage caused by the flooding of the Forked Deer River reveal nearly $10 million worth of damage to homes and businesses within Dyer County.
A total of 335 structures affected by floodwaters - 256 dwellings and 79 businesses - were counted by air on Wednesday by city officials. The estimated damage to Dyer County property is $9,571,615.
Dyersburg City Codes Enforcement Officer Thomas Mullins believes that number is considered to be lower than the final damage assessment will reveal.
"The assessment is not 100 percent accurate because we were counting by air," said Mullins, who was told on Wednesday that currents surrounding the building in the flood zones were too dangerous for his department to do a home-by-home tour by boat. "(That number does) not count the contents of the structures. Because the water stayed up so long, we believe the numbers will be higher."
City employees spent Wednesday assessing damage and gathering preliminary numbers to be submitted to Federal Emergency Management Officials on Wednesday afternoon.
Early Wednesday morning, TEMA representative Mike Cauldell requested as much information as possible to submit to the federal agency to begin efforts to bring TEMA officials to the area as soon as possible.
"Because of all the hard work and dedication by everyone in this room, we were the first county in West Tennessee to be declared a disaster by the president," Dyer County Fire Chief and Director of Emergency Services James Medling told emergency officials and local leaders at the flood briefing on Thursday morning. "I think that speaks well for our efforts."
"All the Feds were waiting for were some numbers," said TEMA representative Mike Cauldell. "We got the figures. Got those in and two hours later, we got the phone call."
Sen. Roy Herron of Dresden personally visited 19 counties, including Dyer County, over four days to assess flood damage and bring state help. Local officials and citizens needing help in obtaining assistance are encouraged to contact Herron at (731) 364-5415. To find links to flood-related assistance and information, visit RoyHerron.com.