More than 75,000 Iowans are still without power one week after a derecho destroyed trees, damaged homes and brought down power lines across the state.
The storm knocked out power to more than 400,000 Iowans. Winds exceeded more than 100 mph in parts of the state, according to the National Weather Service.
Gov. Kim Reynolds on Sunday requested an expedited federal disaster declaration to aid Iowa counties ravaged by last week’s a derecho that caused damage preliminarily estimated at nearly $4 billion — including $3.77 billion in crop damage in 36 counties.
Damage and devastation
The Aug. 10 storm, to which authorities attribute at least three deaths, also caused:
- about $100 million in damage to private utilities still struggling to return power to storm-stricken communities
- $82.73 million in damage to at least 8,273 homes that were destroyed or severely damaged
- nearly $45.3 million in public assistance needs for Iowans caught in the storm’s path.
Preliminary estimates indicate 275,000 residential parcels were impacted by hurricane-like winds between 75 and 112 mph — with about 3 percent of that total destroyed or experiencing major damage.
State officials estimate they have spent about $65 million to mitigate the storm impacts but the remaining cleanup, recovery and rebuilding tasks still are far beyond the state’s capacity to address the needs.
On the farm industry side, the U.S. Agriculture Department estimated 3.57 million acres of corn and 2.5 million acres of soybeans were impacted in 36 hardest-hit counties for an estimated loss of $3.77 billion.
“From cities to farms, Iowans are hurting, many still have challenges with shelter, food, and power. Resilience is in our DNA, but we’re going to need a strong and timely federal response to support recovery efforts,” Reynolds said in a statement.
In the request to the president, Reynolds said the state will need at least $3,998,010,354 from federal emergency agencies to recover.
27 Iowa counties
Under the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Individual Assistance Program, the governor requested assistance for 27 Iowa counties: Audubon, Benton, Boone, Cass, Cedar, Clarke, Clinton, Dallas, Greene, Grundy, Guthrie, Hardin, Iowa, Jackson, Jasper, Johnson, Jones, Linn, Madison, Marshall, Muscatine, Polk, Poweshiek, Scott, Story, Tama and Washington.
An intense derecho moved from far southeast South Dakota into Ohio yesterday (8/10/20). This derecho traveled approximately 770 miles in 14 hours and produced widespread damaging wind gusts, including numerous wind gusts over 74 mph (65 kt) & several over 90 mph in central Iowa. pic.twitter.com/a8jJdEB59h— NWS Storm Prediction Center (@NWSSPC) August 11, 2020
“While it is unconventional for a major disaster declaration request of this magnitude to be assembled and approved within a matter of days.” the governor said, “it is essential that our request is expedited and approved as quickly as possible.”
President Trump approves Iowa’s disaster declaration
President Donald Trump will visit Iowa on Tuesday following last week’s powerful derecho storm, according to a White House Official.
As he departed Washington on Monday morning to visit Minnesota and Wisconsin, Trump told reporters he has approved Iowa’s disaster declaration. “I’ve just approved an emergency declaration for Iowa who had an incredible windstorm,” Trump said. “Like … probably they’ve never seen before. It really did a lot of damage.“
The disaster declaration allows for federal funding to be allocated on a cost-sharing basis for repair work in the following counties: Benton, Boone, Cedar, Clinton, Dallas, Jasper, Johnson, Jones, Linn, Marshall, Muscatine, Polk, Poweshiek, Scott, Story, and Tama.
Meanwhile, many west-central Iowa counties are still in extreme drought because the storm brought little rain with the wind.
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