Gov. Kim Reynolds speaks of derecho damage in Cedar Rapids


Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds addressed state assistance to Iowa counties after Monday’s storm resulted in power outages and property damage.

Kylee Haueter

The damage of the derecho that swept through Iowa earlier in the week was addressed by Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds at a Cedar Rapids press conference Friday. 

Reynolds mentioned the disaster declaration she signed on Tuesday which includes 25 counties across the state. She also spoke about touring Linn County to survey the damage.

“The destruction was indescribable,” she said.

Reynolds continued by highlighting her conversations with President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, both of which have expressed readiness to sign a federal disaster declaration. 

On Monday, she will be submitting a major disaster declaration that would include providing financial assistance to homeowners and covering repairs for critical infrastructure.

“The entire state of Iowa stands with you,” Reynolds said, addressing the impacted counties.  

“The damage to the community and the disruption to your life is significant and we are making efforts to address your needs.”

The initial disaster response included making sure hospitals and other care facilities had power and making sure the limited number of pharmacies that remained open could still fill prescriptions.

Generators and fuel were provided to help keep critical utilities up and running.

Last night, Reynolds met with the leaders of electrical companies in Iowa to discuss getting the power back on for those still without electricity. 

Reynolds said as of Friday morning, Alliant Energy and ITC have committed to getting power to remaining customers by Tuesday. Power will be restored to the remaining Mid-American customers this weekend. 

“I just spoke with them and I can tell you they are committed to doing everything they can to even meet that expectation,” she said. 

“They are working around the clock, they are bringing resources into the community that will be onsite tomorrow.”

Reynolds was joined by Iowa National Guard adjutant general Benjamin Correll and Joyce Flynn, interim director of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. She was also joined by Cedar Rapids Mayor Bradley Hart and Geri Huser of the Iowa Utilities Board. 

Hart said he met with Sen. Joni Ernst, who is also helping to get federal aid. 

The Iowa National Guard has deployed 100 engineers and a civil support team to Cedar Rapids to assist in clean up, communications and search-and-rescue operations. Correll said soldiers are also still on the ground at Test Iowa sites across the state. 

The Department of Transportation is also providing debris removal on the ground in Cedar Rapids and is also providing transportation for generators and fuel. 

Reynolds said for Iowans who would like to help, Linn County has many volunteer opportunities. The Salvation Army and Red Cross are also taking donations.

“I want to thank all Iowans for your generosity and willingness to care for each other in times of need,” Reynolds said.