From Post staff reportsPresident Barack Obama declared Tennessee a major disaster area late Tuesday afternoon for the designated counties of Davidson, Williamson, Hickman and Cheatham.Although Wilson County was not included in the initial declaration, a news release from Gov. Phil Bredesen’s office said additional counties are expected to be declared disaster areas in the coming days.That was the word late yesterday from Bredesen’s office and from 5th District U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper’s office which sent out a news release from the Federal Emergency Management Agency in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.Bredesen asked the President on Monday to declare 52 counties Federal disaster areas following severe storms that struck the state beginning April 30.So far, Tennessee has suffered 19 confirmed fatalities. There have been no fatalities in Wilson County as a result of the severe weather.Many in the affected counties have lost their homes and all their possessions. Water rescues have been performed and many places were evacuated due to flood waters.“The federal government has moved quickly to assist Tennessee and I appreciate the quick action by President Obama to declare the first of what I expect will be many counties authorized for federal assistance,” Bredesen said. “In addition to the state and local resources utilized in the initial response, I know all counties impacted by these devastating storms are anxious for assistance and access to the resources of the federal government.”The declaration sets in motion “the release of federal funds to help people and communities recover from the severe storms, flooding, straight-line winds, and tornadoes beginning April 30, 2010, and continuing,” the release said.Cheatham, Davidson, Hickman and Williamson Counties are now eligible for Individual Assistance and Public Assistance. All counties in the state may apply for assistance under FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program which provides assistance to state and local governments and certain non-profit organizations for actions taken to prevent or reduce long-term risk to life and property from natural hazards, the release said.