Cleanup continues for hundreds of people in Mecklenburg and Cabarrus counties, and the reality of how much the recovery effort will cost is starting to sink in.
Assessment teams, which have the ability to approve disaster relief funds, spent the day in the two counties hit by Saturday’s EF-2 tornado.
Residents of the Steeple Chase community in Cabarrus County, one of the communities directly impacted by the tornado, said Monday morning it’s obvious they desperately need those funds as their out-of-pocket expenses are already skyrocketing.
Mountains of debris sit in the roadways all over the community and many said their insurance policies do not cover the cost of debris and tree removal.
The tornado damaged 49 homes in and around the neighborhood as it cut a swath 200 yards wide and four miles long through the two counties.
Some of the victims of the tornado also lost their cars and did not have car rental insurance, which means some of the families are spending money on temporary vehicles in addition to food, shelter and clothing.
Susan Berry, a single mother with three children, said she and her neighbors are eager to see the state assessors tour the area because state disaster relief is a necessity.
“That’s all extra things you don’t plan on, on top of what you’re trying to do, so we need help,” Berry said.
As state assessment teams surveyed the damage in the Reedy Creek neighborhood, the Watson family watched workers place a tarp over holes in their roof.
They said it is becoming painfully obvious that insurance may not be enough to cover all their repairs and expenses.
"I still have to pay the mortgage on this house as well as the car notes and all the other expenses,” Watson said.
Before the Watsons, and many other people in the neighborhood, can apply for state disaster relief money, the area has to first qualify for the funding. That means a total of 25 homes or business in the storm-struck area must be deemed by state officials as destroyed, not just damaged.
Looking at the damage done to his neighborhood, Watson said that conclusion should be easy to reach for state assessors.
"The side of my house is gone; the sun roof is gone," he said.
If Mecklenburg and Cabarrus counties qualify, homeowners could qualify for low-interest loans through the Small Business Administration and state grants to make improvements.
Emergency management officials said they will make a decision on disaster funding, but they could not say just when that will happen.