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Marshalltown Derecho Recovery Could Take Years

A tree is broken and has fallen over a sidewalk. A sign in front of the area says "sidewalk closed."
Kassidy Arena
Crews in Marshalltown are still cleaning up debris and damage from the Aug. 10 derecho. The storm compounds the damage done by a tornado that struck the city two years ago.

It’s been a little more than a month since the derecho storm swept through Iowa. Marhsalltown took one of its hardest hits.

Marshalltown was hit hard two years ago by a tornado, and it is still recovering. When the derecho came through Aug. 10, it added more to the city’s to-do list.

Marshalltown FEMA Disaster Recovery Center

Address: Marshalltown VA Clinic
101 Iowa Ave. W Marshalltown, IA 50158

Hours: Monday-Sunday 9 a.m. - 6 p.m., closed Sundays

Special Instructions: Please enter from W. Berle Rd and proceed south behind the building.

Justin Nickel, the director of public works and city engineer in Marshalltown, said the tornado only hit one portion of the city, but the derecho was community-wide. This makes clean-up take a lot longer.

“I imagine we certainly are looking at another year, two years, five years, eight years, something of that effect, to take care of everything that was impacted by the derecho," Nickel said.

Nickel said at this point, the city familiar with the reimbursement process from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). They are no longer doing city sweeps of damage, but rather on-demand requests.

“I feel like we're well versed at how to handle things again, specifically to follow the FEMA playbook, the rulebook to make sure that we get reimbursement from the federal government for all of this vegetative cleanup for our emergency response in the following 24 or 48 hours after the events," Nickel said.

Nickel said he did not believe the derecho clean-up hindered recovery efforts from the tornado.

Now, Marshalltown has removed most of the vegetative debris from the streets and is working on chipping it to reduce volume. The city will work with the state to decide what to do with the chips.

Kassidy was a reporter based in Des Moines