Gov. Reynolds Issues Emergency Disaster Proclamation Following Monday's Storm
Gov. Kim Reynolds has issued an emergency disaster proclamation in 20 of the state’s counties following damages caused by Monday's severe storm.
Monday’s storm, a rare hurricane-like weather event known as a derecho, sent winds as fast as 100 miles per hour across the state knocking down trees and power lines.
The counties with proclamations are Benton, Boone, Cedar, Clarke, Clinton, Dallas, Greene, Hardin Iowa, Jasper, Johnson, Linn Marshall, Muscatine, Polk, Poweshiek, Scott, Story, Tama and Washington.
At a press conference on Tuesday, Reynolds said in order to get state resources and assistance, counties must ask the state to issue an emergency disaster proclamation for their area.
"They just have to request and then we can add them to the list, and it's just a matter of what they're requesting individual assistance, or just resources," Reynolds said.
Reynolds said she anticipates the state will also get federal assistance from FEMA.
Joyce Flynn, the Director of the Iowa Department of Homeland Security, said the state's emergency operation center has already been activated because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but it will now be used to respond to the storm as well.
"We are coordinating those resource requests from those local emergency management coordinators who serve as the point of contact in those counties," Flynn said “Thus far we have received requests for generators, diesel fuel for generators, debris removal support and communications assets. As the incident continues to unfold, I'm sure this list will grow," she said.
State officials said as many as 550,000 households lost power because of the storm, and as of Tuesday morning 450,000 households in Iowa were still without power.
Geri Huser, the chair of the Iowa Utilities Board, said the storm was "one of the most destructive of record," and even with utility crews are working around the clock, some Iowans can expect to wait days before getting their power back.
"Utility crews and emergency management officers are making customers aware that some areas of service can expect to be without power for several days as debris is cleared and downed power lines are replaced," she said.
Huser said Iowans who cannot reach their utility company should call 211.
Reynolds said several state building like the Woodward Resource Center in Woodward and the Iowa Veterans Home in Marshalltown sustained significant damage as well as the state's farmland.
"Early estimates and again these are early estimates are that 10 million crop acres have been impacted by the storms," she said. "Although it will take days or weeks to know the full scope of damage. Initial reports are significant."
Three Test Iowa sites in Cedar Rapids, Davenport and Marshalltown were also closed and are expected to reopen on Monday. Reynolds said no COVID-19 tests were damaged by the storm.