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Through collaborative leadership we supplied a pipeline of $812 million in new capital investment projects to strengthen and diversify the assets in Iowa. But beyond big number private-sector prospects we also work with the progressive small businesses, nonprofits, civic leaders, workforce, education institutions, utilities, transportation, housing, etc to maximize productivity and long-term prosperity in our evolving economic landscape.

Storm Update: Day 2 of recovery from July 11, 2011 Hurricane of the Prairie

We now have a name for the devastating act of nature that hit Tama County, Iowa yesterday, July 11, 2011. The formal report is not yet in, but experts believe that it was not a tornado, (though every bit as devastating and much more rare.) It was a persistent high-speed straight-line wind storm, a Hurricane of the Prairie, a thundergust, a Derecho. And reportedly Tama County, Iowa took the brunt of the storm’s hit compared to the surrounding area.

Yesterday morning Governor Terry Branstad issued a disaster declaration for Tama County to expedite resources to support thousands of residents without power, and speed up public infrastructure restoration. More than 36 hours later we are relieved to confirm that no fatalities or serious injuries resulted from this straight-line wind storm. Early estimates put the loss of economic productivity up to $100 million including loss of animal lives, crops, real estate, personal property damages and diverted or diminished workforce productivity. Hundreds of pictures have now been uploaded to the internet showing how this rare event transformed our physical landscape. A couple dozen of these images depicting a variety of damages across Tama County can be viewed by clicking here.

So, where do we turn for help during Phase I: Basic Recovery?

  • Tama County Emergency Management issued a CodeRED phone message informing all property owners that they will be contacted by local emergency services about their damages. They also request that uninsured property owners contact the Tama County Emergency dispatch center (641) 484-3760. We also received warning that some insurance policies may protect against flooding and tornadoes, but not straight-line storms. Please check and make sure you are covered. Click here to register for free CodeRED information updates
  • Red Cross: Shelters from the heat with food and protection have been set up. The only official shelter is in Garwin, but unofficial neighborhood supported shelters are also in Dysart and Clutier. As we anticipate power not being restored for a number of days, we encourage checking in at these shelters for info even if family and friends in the area have reached out to help.
  • Small Business Association: Since 1953, the SBA has provided disaster recovery funds to 1.9 million homeowners, renters and businesses of all sizes in the form of low-interest loans. Visit www.sba.gov/disaster. An Agility Recovery Solutions webinar is also scheduled for Tue. July 19, 1 p.m. “Disaster Recovery Best Practices & Lessons Learned.” Register at  https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/799917864
In visiting with experts that have experienced similar hardships, Tama County Economic Development has been made aware of the need to explain this event and its impact on the long-term economy to the world outside Tama County, Iowa who may not feel directly impacted. Though local leadership is taking a lot of pride in the local manpower of emergency response, financial resources for long-term reconstruction and rehabilitation is a concern. Especially considering the fact that our primary industry and some of our most financially vulnerable communities are now charged with new challenges and devastation never faced before. Local officials are looking to federal leadership in upgrading this event to a presidential disaster over the next few days to assist in long-term reconstruction and hazard mitigation.

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