Published: 2011-04-21 11:25:00
Updated: 2011-04-21 18:40:52
Posted April 21, 2011 11:25 a.m. EDT
Updated April 21, 2011 6:40 p.m. EDT
Raleigh, N.C. — Last Saturday's storms caused more than $115 million in damage in Raleigh, according to the final assessment released by city officials Thursday.
The city Inspections Department determined that 138 houses and eight businesses were destroyed, and another 2,269 homes and commercial establishments were damaged. Residential damage in Raleigh totaled about $82 million, while commercial damage was about $33 million.
Southeast Raleigh, the southern end of downtown and neighborhoods across the northeast section of the city sustained the most damage, officials said.
Wake County officials said Tuesday that damage estimates for the county could reach $100 million. No final figure for the county – or for other areas of North Carolina that were damaged in the tornado outburst – has been released.
People have been working in recent days to clear the debris from the storm from the property, building piles of branches and other materials at curbs.
"The front yard, just a lot of debris fell. A lot of debris fell," said Philip Hinton, who lives on Dogwood Drive in northeast Raleigh.
"My back's been hurting. I can't do it," Hinton said of the cleanup effort."I can rake some, but raking is not going to solve the problem we have with the trees down."
Members of his daughter's church youth group pitched in Thursday to clear much of the debris.
"Driving up here, we were like, 'Oooohhh, wow, it's crazy,'" volunteer Hailey Stephenson said. "We didn't really know what to expect when we got here, but seeing it is pretty crazy. I'm glad we're here to help."
Across the region, neighbors and strangers helped storm victims. Different groups of volunteers made strides clearing away the YWCA property in downtown Raleigh.
"I can't say enough for what they're doing for me," Hinton said of his daughter's friends. "It's going to be some time before it's all cleared, but I'm thankful just to be making progress."
Crews will make three sweeps of Raleigh to collect storm debris, but officials said they would pick up only tree limbs, stumps and other vegetation. Homeowners must take construction debris like insulation, siding and shingles to any of 11 disposal centers that Wake County has set up:
Wake County has teamed with the state Department of Transportation to have crews pick up both vegetation and construction materials along state-maintained roads in areas affected by the storms, officials said. The debris must be separated into distinct piles for pick up.
Any household hazardous chemicals or appliances must be taken to county facilities at 9037 Deponie Drive in Raleigh or 6130 Old Smithfield Road in Apex for disposal.
"I was not aware of any such rules," Dogwood Drive resident Jeff Serr. "This is my first natural disaster."
Serr said his wife, Megan, lost her car in the storm. Their shed was crushed, the backyard pool was destroyed and they suffered roof and chimney damage.
"I'm just more in a survival mode," he said. "Having hot water and having electricity and having something to eat, that's where I'm at right now."
Officials suggest that residents check with their insurance companies to determine whether their homeowners policies cover the cost of debris removal after a storm.
Raleigh also has established an e-mail address to handle all storm-related questions. People can send inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
More than two dozen tornadoes raked 32 counties in central and eastern North Carolina, according to the National Weather Service.
Twenty-four people were killed in the storms, and state officials said Wednesday that preliminary estimates showed 133 people were seriously injured, 21 businesses and 439 homes were destroyed and 92 businesses and 6,189 houses sustained significant damage.
The federal government has declared 10 counties – Bertie, Bladen, Cumberland, Halifax, Harnett, Johnston, Lee, Onslow, Wake and Wilson – as disaster areas, allowing residents and business owners to apply for federal recovery assistance, including grants for temporary housing and home repairs and low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses.
Homeowners can apply for up to $240,000 in low-interest federal loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration to repair or replace their homes and some personal belongings. Renters can apply for up to $40,000 to replace personal belongings, and business Owners can apply for up to $2 million for business property losses.
Anybody who doesn’t qualify for loans may be eligible for an individual assistance grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help repair and replace personal property.
To begin the process of applying for federal aid, contact FEMA by calling 1-800-621-3362 or through FEMA's website.
For information on state aid, call the NC Hotline at 1-888-835-9966.