Dickson County tornado recovery complicated by supply chain and cost issues

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Debris once littered Murrell Road in Dickson County. Now the area is largely blank slate where the tornado ripped through nearly five months ago – save for the many downed and splintered trees.

Disposing of the remnants of the EF-2 tornado is one of the biggest problems that residents of Murrell Road still face. These issues are compounded by material costs and nationwide delays.

“It takes forever to do anything,” said Kimberley Watson, who ran into her bathroom just before the Dec. 11 tornado destroyed her home and that of her husband Steve around them.

“We’re all trying, I think, to rebuild on our same property,” Watson said, referring to their neighbors.

She said they estimated about a year until their new home was finished.

“We’re stuck in limbo until (the materials) get here,” Watson said.

Related:Victims of Dickson tornado remember destruction around them: ‘Please Lord, let us live’

Property and residences nearly five months after an F-2 tornado ripped through Dickson County on December 11.  Three tornadoes touched down in the county that day.

“The house was never empty”

The cleanup of much of the Murrell Road area, located just outside the town limits of Dickson, was accomplished by the residents’ family members.

A community cleanup was organized by Mike and Peggy Artis months ago which helped the couple who were out of town the weekend of the tornadoes.

In a video posted online by Cross Point, the couple explained how their weekend away likely saved their lives and possibly family members as well.

“I mean, I can’t stop thinking about how our house was never empty, and that was the only week it was empty,” Mike Artis told the interviewer.

Peggy said she would probably have been in the house with several grandchildren. Their house was almost completely razed.

They too are planning to rebuild their house. Mike and Peggy were nearing the end of a house remodel, much of which they had done themselves. The next step was to bring in an assessor soon. But the tornado, which was one of three in Dickson County, ripped through their residence.

“All the money we’ve invested, just put it in this hole. We lost that,” Peggy told the interviewer.

Property and residences nearly five months after an F-2 tornado ripped through Dickson County on December 11.  Three tornadoes touched down in the county that day.

Rebuild

Watson, who works for home builder Dickson, said it would normally take around six months to build a house. Now the time and expense are more than doubled.

“The house is probably costing us three times what it should cost to build. The cost of everything is so outrageous right now,” Watson said.

Laughing, Watson said their current residence also has its challenges.

“Now we’re back at my mom’s. It’s hard to come home,” Watson said.

His family made the recovery process possible.

“If it wasn’t for my family helping me, we wouldn’t be anywhere,” Watson said.

She said the help center had traveled to the area and helped on several occasions. But getting other help – even paying someone to clean up – has been difficult. Further down Murrell Road, a logging company removed storm-damaged trees, she said. But they told Watson his land was “too small” to remove the trees. Another company probably failed as well.

She said the process is often “depressing. But Watson said: “I thank God every day, we are still here.”

Online fundraisers have been set up for both families as the recovery continues, both with their homes and mentally.

Watson said their new basement will be built as a storm shelter.

“There’s just no way now that we don’t have (storm protection),” Watson said.

“These storms and winds…that we keep having, it’s going to drive us crazy. If the winds pick up, we’re in turmoil,” Watson added. “You relive it almost every time.”

Photo gallery:See the damage after severe storms swept through Nashville and Tennessee


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