President Trump declares disaster in Alabama as Irma makes its way across the state

President Trump declares disaster in Alabama as Irma makes its way across the state
Alabama Power crews in Mobile moved to Auburn today to be ready for restoration efforts. (Beth Thomas / Alabama NewsCenter)

President Donald Trump today declared Alabama a disaster emergency, paving the way for federal assistance as Tropical Storm Irma’s winds and rains batter parts of the state.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey had requested the Presidential Disaster Declaration for the state and the president agreed an emergency exists and ordered federal assistance to supplement existing response efforts.

“In a phone call on Sunday, President Donald Trump promised me that he ‘had Alabama’s back’ and in approving our request for a Presidential Disaster Declaration, the President has proven to be a man of his word,” Ivey said. “He and his team are doing a tremendous job managing this disaster in several states, and I am thankful for their hard work on behalf of Alabama, and their willingness to quickly approve our request.”

With the declaration, the Department of Homeland Security and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) can coordinate all disaster relief, alleviating and supplementing some of the work of local relief efforts.

FEMA is authorized to identify, mobilize and provide, at its discretion, equipment and resources necessary to address the impacts of the emergency. Emergency protective measures, including direct federal assistance, will be provided at 75 percent federal funding.

The declaration comes as power outages rise across the state but officials said the greatest wind gusts could still come overnight in Alabama. Alabama Power said there are 45,000 statewide outages, mostly in the eastern part of Alabama. Of those, approximately 23,000 are in the Eufaula and Enterprise area, 13,900 Auburn and Opelika area and around 6,900 in Anniston.

Alabama Power crews from Mobile began making their way to Auburn today as the company anticipates where the needs will be once the last of Tropical Storm Irma passes through the state overnight and into Tuesday morning.

Restoration work will take place as quickly as possible in places where it is safe for crews to do so, Alabama Power officials said.

Irma update: Alabama Power restoration efforts rely on safe working conditions from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

 

Alabama Power customers can report outages online, on Twitter or by calling 800-888-2726. Alabama Power is also directing customers to adhere to the Storm Safety Tips on the Alabama NewsCenter website.

Updates on the weather and Alabama Power’s response will be posted throughout the day at Alabama NewsCenter and on Alabama NewsCenter’s Twitter feed and Facebook page.

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