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South Georgia storm damage estimate: at least $100 million

State Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens on Tuesday estimated that this weekend’s South Georgia storms did at least $100 million worth of damage.

Hudgens went to South Georgia Tuesday and took both aerial and ground tours of the major areas hit by the killer tornadoes.

“It’s phenomenal,” Hudgens said. “We saw places were it’s total devastation.”

Channel 2's Linda Stouffer reports.

He said much of the damage was to structures and property that was uninsured. Still, his office is going to set up a “claims village” in Albany in about a week to make it easier for those with insurances to file claims with companies. Hudgens said his office would have staffers there as well.

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“We are advocates for the people to make sure insurance companies pay them every dime they are due,” he said.

Gov. Nathan Deal plans to tour the area Wednesday.

Deal announced plans to ask for federal help at a news conference Monday afternoon, one day after storms killed at least 15 people in South Georgia and four more across the Deep South.

In Dougherty County, where four people perished, local officials expressed frustration and said they felt abandoned by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The Albany area was still recovering from a devastating tornado Jan. 2 that left a trail of damage in excess of $30 million when they were hit early Sunday with another brutal storm.

House leaders approved adding $5 million to the governor’s emergency fund Tuesday to help deal with the aftermath of the storms.

The $5 million would be added to Deal’s funds meant to deal with things like catastrophic storms or other unexpected expenses. The $5 million would likely be only an initial payment on what the government will spend to help the region.

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