June 19, 2008

Contact: State Emergency Operations Center, (515) 323.4221


Latest Information from the Iowa State Emergency Operations Center

Governor to meet with the President, recovery efforts continue

Des Moines, IA – Governor Chet Culver will join President Bush as he travels throughout eastern Iowa today.

The State emergency operations center remains activated to help responders in southeast Iowa as river levels remain high and the Mississippi crests in Keokuk. Local responders, volunteers and the Iowa National Guard have increased the height of levees in Keokuk and now are ready to respond in the event of any levee seepage or failures.

Meanwhile joint federal and state teams continue to review damages which is the first step to declare more counties under the Presidential Disaster Declaration. This declaration opens programs designed to assist Iowans and public agencies recover from the floods of 2008. Governor Culver has asked for a Presidential Disaster Declaration for all 83 Governor’s Declared Counties. Under the process he makes the request and FEMA makes the final determination on eligibility. In addition, the Governor continues to ask for the maximum available assistance from the Federal Government.

Yesterday additional counties were added to the Presidential Declaration. Here is the latest list.


FEMA approved the following counties for individual assistance: Jasper, Mahaska, Mills, Monona, Chickasaw, Crawford and Warren.

They join the following counties, which were previously covered under a Presidential Disaster Declaration for individual assistance: Allamakee, Des Moines, Fremont, Harrison, Clayton, Adams, Cedar, Jones, Louisa, Muscatine, Polk, Winneshiek, Benton, Bremer, Black Hawk, Butler, Buchanan, Cerro Gordo, Delaware, Fayette, Floyd, Hardin, Johnson, Linn, Marion, Page, Story, Tama and Union.

Individual Assistance allows homeowners, renters, business owners and non-profit organizations to recover from the effects of severe storms, tornadoes and flooding that began May 25 and continues.


FEMA approved the following counties for Public Assistance: Allamakee, Fayette, Johnson, Jones, Page, Adair Hancock, Humboldt, Kossuth, Madison, Taylor and Webster.

These counties join the following counties, which were previously covered under a Presidential Disaster Declaration for public assistance: Adams, Linn, Winneshiek, Grundy, Howard, Iowa, Marshall, Mitchell, Ringgold, Worth, Wright, Clayton, Black Hawk, Boone, Buchanan, Butler, Cerro Gordo, Crawford, Dallas, Delaware, Dubuque, Floyd, Franklin, Marion, Story, Tama and Union.

Public Assistance funds pay the approved cost of debris removal, emergency services related to the disaster and repairing or replacing damaged public facilities, such as roads, buildings and utilities. A series of applicant briefings will be held for local officials to explain the application process.

They join the Iowa counties already under a Governor’s Emergency Proclamation.

Counties covered under Governor Culver’s Disaster Proclamation: 83 counties. Adair, Adams, Allamakee, Appanoose, Audubon, Benton, Black Hawk, Boone, Bremer, Buchanan, Butler, Carroll, Cass, Cedar, Cerro Gordo, Chickasaw, Clarke, Clayton, Crawford, Clinton, Dallas, Delaware, Dubuque, Davis, Decatur, Des Moines, Fayette, Floyd, Franklin, Fremont, Greene, Grundy, Guthrie, Hamilton, Hancock, Hardin, Harrison, Howard, Humboldt, Henry, Iowa, Jackson, Jasper, Johnson, Jones, Jefferson, Keokuk, Kossuth, Lee, Linn, Louisa, Lucas, Marion, Marshall, Mitchell, Monona, Montgomery, Muscatine, Mahaska, Madison, Mills, Monroe, Page, Polk, Pottawattamie, Poweshiek, Ringgold, Scott, Story, Shelby, Tama, Taylor, Union, Van Buren, Wapello, Warren, Webster, Winneshiek, Worth, Wright, Washington, Wayne, and Winnebago.

The Governor’s proclamation activates Iowa’s individual disaster assistance program. Iowa’s individual disaster assistance program helps people with low incomes. Iowans with household incomes of up to 130 percent of federal poverty guidelines may apply for a grant of up to $3,300 to help recover from flood damage. The Governor emphasized that this is a reimbursement program, meaning that applicants must include receipts when applying for help.

Disaster Assistance Clarification

Applying for help. Iowa residents who sustained damage in this year’s storms or floods should apply for federal or state-only disaster assistance grants if they are available. Residents are not eligible for both. By design, the federal program is far more generous than the state-funded Iowa-only program.

How do I know?

o Iowa’s program is automatically turned on when the governor declares a county to be a disaster. He has declared 83 counties so far.

o Iowa’s program is automatically superseded when the president declares a county to be a disaster for individual assistance.

The state program. This is a grant program only for people with very limited income (at or below 130 percent of federal poverty guidelines). Generally, if you are eligible for food stamps, you are eligible for the grant program. The grant is offered in numerous categories, with the maximum grant being about $3,300. For information, go to dhs.iowa.gov and look for the words “Storm Help” on the front page. Or call toll free (877) 937-3663.

The federal program. The federal government offers extensive grants and loans for Iowans in areas declared a presidential disaster for individual assistance. The federal program is far more beneficial to victims, both in grant maximum amounts and in eligibility criterion. Specifically, it is not limited to people with very low incomes. A good starting point for federal programs relating to the Iowa disaster is this web site. http://www.fema.gov/news/event.fema?id=9867 Or call (800) 621-3362.

What happens if there is a conflict? So far, nobody has filed for grants under the state disaster program in an area that is declared a federal disaster. In the unlikely event that this happens, DHS staff will make contact and help steer the person to more beneficial federal programs. Federal programs offer much more aid and are not limited to low income families.

More information regarding the state and federal disaster grant programs can be found at the following link. http://www.dhs.state.ia.us/Consumers/Assistance_Programs/CashAssistance/DisasterAssistance/StormHelp.html


Des Moines

The Army Corp of Engineers says water should no longer be flowing over the Saylorville Lake emergency spillway as of Sunday, June 21. Water levels are expected this weekend to be below 884 feet, which is the crest of the emergency spillway. Also, water in the Red Rock area appears to be dropping by one foot per day.

The Department of Natural Resources is asking anyone that sees large or unsafe debris (such as drums, hazardous waste, etc.) floating in rivers to call 515-281-8694. Once the debris has been reported, a crew will be called out to remove it.


The river is projected to crest in Keokuk on Thursday afternoon at 26.8 feet, just under the record of 27.6 feet.

Iowa National Guard troops and other state resources remain in the area and are ready to help local officials respond to any emergency.

Local officials along the Mississippi in southeast Iowa have used the days before the river surge to effectively raise levees to protect key infrastructure items like water treatment plants. “All state resources will be used to continue this flood fight,” Governor Chet Culver stressed.

The Governor visited Fort Madison and Keokuk Wednesday afternoon to ensure local officials and first responders have the state resources they need.

Cedar Rapids

Cedar Rapids Police have requested assistance via the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) for additional law enforcement support. Additional officers are requested to provide public safety and law enforcement services in flood zones in the city. Officers from Minnesota and Nebraska will supplement Iowa law enforcement resources to provide this support and are being implemented as phased in deployments on a timeline established by Cedar Rapids Police.

Officials understand the frustration of Cedar Rapids residents who want to return home. They stress they are working to clear the evacuated area of all hazards to ensure a safe reentry. Sink holes, downed power lines and uncovered manholes remain a hazard. While the city’s water capacity has improved, residents are asked to conserve water. Linn County has established regular press briefings and residents are encouraged to tune to those for the latest information. Large portions of the city have been opened for reentry.

Four Disaster Recovery Centers were established in Cedar Rapids Wednesday. These centers give those impacted by the floods a place to meet face to face with state and federal workers to learn about specific programs available to help them and the steps needed to enroll in those programs.

Fort Madison
The Fort Madison Toll Bridge has reopened.

Local officials have taken steps to protect the local water treatment facility.

More than 200 National Guard soldiers are in the area to help local officials with flood preparation and response.

The river has crested in Ottumwa. Though waters are receding, the threat remains that water control efforts could fail. Citizens are encouraged to use caution in the coming days.

Latest road report from the Iowa Department of Transportation

For travel between Muscatine and Davenport, motorists should take U.S. 61 east to Interstate 280, Interstate 280 north to Interstate 80, and then into or around the city of Davenport via Interstate 80.


· No new reports of closed or reopened roadways were received overnight.

Previously mentioned and updated road closures

Interstate routes

· I-80 and Dubuque Street interchange: in Johnson County – Flood waters are over Dubuque Street south of this interchange in Iowa City. The southbound exit from Interstate 80 is closed.

· I-80 eastbound between exits 265 and 267 in Cedar County – Starting at 6 a.m. until approximately 2 p.m. Thursday, June 19, the right lane will be closed and traffic will be restricted to one lane to repair the right shoulder. This is in the same area that was closed during the Cedar River flooding.


There have been seventeen storm-related deaths since the tornado of May 25.

8 Butler County (tornado)
1 Wright County (Flooding)
1 Palo Alto/ Curlew (lightning)
1 Hamilton County (Flooding)
4 Monona County (Tornado)
1 Linn County (Flooding)
1 Louisa County (Flooding)

A additional fatality in Henry County is currently under investigation to determine if the death was the result of a traffic crash or the result of a unrelated medical condition, but it is not being considered a flood related death.

American Red Cross Open Shelters:

Ÿ Benton County

o Iowa Braille School, 1002 G Avenue Vinton, IA 52349; 8 occupants

Ÿ Black Hawk County

o UNI West Gym, University Ave & Campus St, Cedar Falls, IA 50613; 38 occupants

Ÿ Bremer County

o Wartburg College, 222 9th ST NW, Waverly, IA 50677; 30 occupants

Ÿ Des Moines County

o West Burlington High School, 408 W Van Weiss, West Burlington, Iowa ; 7 occupants

Ÿ Johnson County

o Johnson County Fairgrounds, 4265 Oak Crest Hill Rd SE Iowa City, IA 52240; 29 occupants

o Northwest Jr High School, 1507 8th Street, Coralville, Iowa 52241; 29 occupants

Ÿ Linn County

o Viola Gibson Elm. School, 6101 Gibson Dr. NE Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52404; 81 occupants

o Prairie High School, 401 76th Ave SW, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, 62404; 141 occupants

Ÿ Louisa County

o Louisa/Muscatine School, 14353 170th St, Letts, Iowa 52754; 6 occupants

Ÿ 21 shelters are in standby mode throughout the State

This is the latest information gathered in terms of the number of Iowans that have been evacuated as a result of this flood. In most cases local officials and emergency managers have allowed reentry.

• Black Hawk County

– Cedar Falls = 1000

– Waterloo = 300

• Butler Co:

– New Hartford and Greene = 300 evacuees

• Cerro Gordo

– Rural = 100

• Clayton Co

– Elkader = 220

• Clinton Co:

– Toronto = 26

• Des Moines Co

– Burlington (Townships Tama, Jackson, Huron) = 350

• Dubuque

– Dyersville = 75

– Cascade = 40

• Hamilton

– Blairsburg = 4

– Webster City = 19

• Johnson County

– Iowa City = 5,000

– Johnson County Rural = 299

• Lee Co

– Montrose (Sandusky Area) = 350

• Louisa Co

– Columbus Junction = 1616 + 37 from Colonial Manor Nursing Care

– Fredonia = 201

– Oakville = 442

• Linn Co

– Cedar Rapids = 25,000 + 205 patients from Mercy Hospital

– Palo = 400 residential + 37 commercial

• Madison Co

– East Peru = 15

• Mahaska Co

– Red Rock Area = 85

– Eddyville= 30

• Polk Co

– Des Moines = 240

• Scott Co

– Bettendorf (Duck Creek Area) = 350

• Wapello County

– Ottumwa = 200

– Cargill Plant is Ok

• Winneshiek Co

– Decorah = 1240

– Freeport = 230

– Fort Atkinson = 50

– Spillville = 45

– Winneshiek Rural Areas = 150

38,656 Evacuees, 18 Counties, 31 Towns-Townships-Rural Areas

Stay out of flood affected areas unless you have been told to be there. Emergency Management Officials need clear access to these areas, and unless you need to be there, stay away.

Evacuate Means Evacuate. If you are directed by local officials to evacuate, leave the area immediately. The situation remains dangerous, and to help protect the lives of Iowans, please leave if you are told to do so.

Be wary of unscrupulous practices. Disasters bring out the best in people, and can sometimes bring out the worst. Reports are sporadic at this time, but have indicated that Iowans affected by flood waters have been scammed by people posing as contractors or emergency personnel. Remember:

* Never pay for goods or services in advance
 * Never give out your social security number
 * Always ask for identification

Iowans interested in volunteering or donating are encouraged to visit the flood 2008 website at www.flood2008.iowa.gov. They can also contact the Iowa Concerns Hotline at: 800.447.1985.

To obtain updated shelter information, call 1-800-GET-INFO (438-4636)

211 (regional call center to help people with human services)

Iowa Concern Hotline 1-800-447-1985 for volunteers and donations

Road Closures Hotline 1-866-452-8510 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily or 24 hours at www.511ia.org> .

To apply for federal assistance, contact FEMA at www.fema.gov> .

To apply for the State Individual Assistance program contact the Iowa Department of Human Services at dhs.iowa.gov and click the “storm help” link.

For current weather forecasts and flood statements, visit http://www.weather.gov