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Tallahassee mayor says cost of May 10 tornadoes now exceeds $50 million as city seeks federal assistance

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Recovery from a May 10 tornado outbreak has cost Florida’s capital $50 million so far, Tallahassee Mayor John Dailey said Friday.

Florida officials have asked the Federal Emergency Management Agency to declare a major disaster, which could make local government and individuals eligible for federal aid. FEMA has not yet approved such a declaration.

Dailey told local news media that the city is working with President Joe Biden’s administration and FEMA so that compensation for the storm can be provided and individuals can receive assistance.

“That’s where we can have the most impact as a community and as a government, working with FEMA,” Dailey told WTXL-TV.

Dailey said the overall cost to the city will increase as city workers continue to clear debris.

The National Weather Service says six tornadoes struck the Florida Panhandle and Alabama on May 10, including three that struck parts of Tallahassee. Officials say damage from some measures exceeds that of recent hurricanes in the area.

Two people died in the storms from injuries caused by falling trees: a 47-year-old woman and a 17-year-old girl.

The storm damaged Florida A&M University, Florida State University and other schools.

Volunteers are still helping residents clear debris and make repairs. Members of the Tallahassee Rotary Club helped remove a tree from the roof of a house Saturday and covered the hole with a tarp.

“She had a limb right through her roof, like an eight-foot limb, and we were able to pull that out,” Rotary Club member Alasdair Roe told WTXL-TV.

Leon County commissioners voted to distribute $1 million in aid to help people and businesses in areas of the county outside Tallahassee that were affected by the storms and not covered by insurance. The program offers up to $3,500 per household and up to $10,000 per business.

However, leaders rejected a proposal from a Leon County commissioner to give $300 rebates on electric bills from the Tallahassee city utility and the Talquin Electric cooperative to people who suffered extended power outages. They told WCTV-TV that such a move would not be legal.

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