Gov. Kim Reynolds will submit federal disaster declaration, power to be restored to Cedar Rapids by Tuesday

Gov. Kim Reynolds said President Trump has pledged support for a federal disaster declaration, and utilities have said they will return electricity to customers who lost power in Monday's storm by August 18.


Katina Zentz

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

Caleb McCullough, Politics Editor

Gov. Kim Reynolds will apply for a major disaster declaration following the derecho that tore across the state on Monday, saying President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have signaled their support for the declaration. 

Reynolds said in a press conference in Cedar Rapids Friday that the declaration would provide federal financial assistance, utility repairs, and debris cleanup, among other types of assistance. 

“I want Cedar Rapids and Linn County and all of those that have been impacted by this natural disaster to know that the entire state of Iowa stands with you,” she said at the conference. “And the full resources of state government are here to support your local recovery efforts.”

Reynolds said she spoke with both Trump and Pence about approving a presidential disaster declaration, and she will submit the paperwork on Monday. Reynolds said she hopes to get the declaration signed off on the same day. 

“We feel very confident that we’ll meet the criteria to qualify, and we need to get that up and going,” she said. “Because that does bring a lot of additional resources.”

Reynolds also said Alliant Energy and ITC had committed to restoring power to customers by Aug. 18, and remaining MidAmerican customers will have power restored by this weekend. 

More than 75,000 people in Linn County and more than 170,000 people across the state are still without power four days after the storm, according to More than 7,000 people in Johnson County are still without power.

The Iowa National Guard has also been deployed in Cedar Rapids and surrounding areas, Reynolds said. More than 100 National Guard engineers and a civil support team are assisting with utility restoration and debris removal, Maj. Gen. Ben Corell of the Iowa National Guard said.

Reynolds said it took until Friday to deploy state troops because it took time for local emergency management teams to assess damage and coordinate with the state. 

“As your city emergency management and your local officials assess what the damage is, we need to be able to identify what that mission is that we expect the National Guard to do,” she said.

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