Home News Thursday Afternoon News, August 13th

Thursday Afternoon News, August 13th


Local Utility Companies Assist Storm Victims

(Le Mars) — Local utility companies are assisting with the restoration of power to residents living in central and eastern Iowa. Electric service was lost to several thousands of Iowans due to Monday’s strong storm that swept across the state with winds measuring around 100 mph and damaging power lines, poles, substations and other electrical equipment. Both North
West Rural Electrical Cooperative and Northwest Iowa Power Cooperative or NIPCO, have crews in eastern Iowa. Lyle Korver is the Executive Director with North West REC. North West REC serves Sioux, O’Brien, Plymouth, and Ida Counties. He says Monday’s storm did cause some minimal damage to North
West’s service area.

After restoring power to those affected by the storm within the North West REC service area, Korver says six employees were then sent with equipment and trucks and headed to eastern Iowa.

Korver says he has heard the East Central Electrical Cooperative still has several residents without power.

Angela Catton is the Manager of Member Relations and Development with NIPCO, based here at Le Mars. She says NIPCO sent four employees to assist.

From left to right are NIPCO crew members who  left on Tuesday morning to provide mutual aid support in restoration efforts: NIPCO Crew Foreman Bill Thompson, Journeyman Lineman BJ Hetzel, Journeyman Lineman Eric Berkenpas, Journeyman Lineman (from NIPCO’s Harlan Outpost Crew) Jordan Newcomb.

Catton offers some statistics regarding the storm’s impact on another Iowa power generation and transmission utility facility.

Catton says the NIPCO crews are telling her the extent of damage is the worst they have ever witnessed.

The NIPCO official says estimates are that it could take several more days before full restoration of power is established.

(photos courtesy of NIPCO)



Weather Officials Say Monday’s Storm Did Not Produce Enough Rain To Lift Iowa From Extreme Drought Status

(Ames) — The storm that passed through the state on Monday did not produce enough rain showers to reduce or eliminate the drought status for western and central Iowa. State Climatologist Justin Glisten says many parts of the state had received between a half inch, to an inch and a half of rain this week. Prior to Monday’s storm, much of west-central and central regions of
Iowa were listed as a D-3 category, or extreme drought-like conditions, with the drought monitor. During a drought series webinar held Thursday, and hosted by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, Glisten says much of the most
affected regions hit hard from the strong wind storm from Monday, are still below normal for precipitation levels.

Dennis Todey, with the USDA Midwest Climate Hub, based in Ames, Iowa, says Iowa is an island with reference to having a drought. He says Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, northern Missouri and eastern Nebraska all show either average, or above average precipitation amounts from the last few weeks.

Todey says for west-central Iowa where the region is listed as a D-3 category, he says the area is as much as four inches short of having average moisture levels.




Thousands Still Without Power

(Undated) — More than a quarter million Iowans are still without power, nearly three days after a major wind storm blasted across the state. Alliant Energy spokeswoman Cindy Tomlinson says the situation remains too complex for
an accurate estimate of a restoration time. At the peak after Monday’s severe weather, nearly 500-thousand customers were in the dark. MidAmerican Energy spokesman Geoff Greenwood says most customers should get their power back today, but for some others, it could take as long as Saturday. Alliant’s
Tomlinson reminds everyone to continue to avoid downed power lines, because you never know if maybe a generator may be feeding back into those lines, or when the power does come back on.




Emergency Management Leader Sees Strong Chance For Federal Relief

(Des Moines, IA) — The head of Iowa’s Homeland Security and Emergency Management agency says there is no guarantee, but there’s a strong chance areas of the state that were hard hit by Monday’s derecho will qualify for Federal Emergency Management Agency assistance. Joyce Flinn spoke with
reporters after a tour of damage in Marshalltown and says based on the electrical utility damage as well as the debris there is likely the amount of damage needed to get FEMA assistance.




Unemployment Claims Drop Again

(Undated) — The number of ongoing unemployment claims dropped by 11-thousand-463 last week and overall those claims fell below 100-thousand for the first time since April 11th. First-time unemployment claims fell by more than one-thousand and are at their lowest level since the coronavirus pandemic hit. There were five-thousand-282 first-time claims filed last week
— with a majority of them coming from manufacturing.




Cedar Rapids Man Charged In Mother’s Death

(Cedar Rapids) — Cedar Rapids Police have charged the son of a 71-year-old woman with first-degree murder in her death. Police charged 49-year-old George Deason in the death of Elsie Mae Deason. She was found in her home on July 1st and police
say she appeared to have been severely beaten, and she later died. George Deason was also charged
with assault on a peace officer and interference with official acts in connection to his arrest.