State of emergency declared in Johnson County following derecho

The state is working on assessing damage and will seek FEMA assistance. An estimated 10 million crop acres were impacted by the storm.


Katina Zentz

Gov. Kim Reynolds speaks during the Condition of the State address at the Iowa State Capitol on Tuesday, January 14, 2020.

Rylee Wilson, News Editor

Following a storm that caused widespread damage across the state, 13 counties so far, including Johnson County, are under an emergency declaration, and several hundred thousand are without power. 

Gov. Kim Reynolds has issued an emergency declaration for 13 counties as of this morning. 

Benton, Boone, Cedar, Clinton, Dallas, Jasper, Johnson,Linn Marshall, Muscatine, Poweshiek, Story, Tama. 

In a Tuesday press conference, Reynolds said 450,000 households are still without power across the state. At the peak of the storm, 555,000 were without power. 

Reynolds said an estimated 10 million crop acres were impacted by the storm, considered a derecho because of the high winds and size. 

Geri Huser, President of the Iowa Utilities Board, said there is currently no identified time for restoration of service, and some areas could continue to be without power for several days. 

“Utility companies have indicated the storm damage was one of the most destructive on record, with downed power lines, destructive tree damage, and hundreds of thousands without service,” she said. 

Huser said the electrical grids in Linn, Marshall and Scott counties were especially hard-hit. 

Reynolds encouraged Iowans to document storm damage and report it to their local authorities as the state seeks to meet the threshold for a federal emergency declaration. 

“I will be shocked if we don’t — it is across about the entire state, widespread, and significant damage that has been done,” Reynolds said. 

Reynold said there was no known damage to COVID-19 tests, though Test Iowa sites in Cedar Rapids, Davenport, and Marshalltown were damaged in the storm and forced to close. 

“We’re hoping we can get those up and running today,” Reynolds said. “Our numbers from yesterday were down. You can still go to clinics and get tested. It doesn’t eliminate testing, you still have the opportunity to visit a clinic.” 

Reynolds and Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg will tour storm damage in Tama and Linn counties later today. 

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