Reynolds calls for expedited help for storm-stricken counties



(The Center Square) – Gov. Kim Reynolds requested an expedited presidential Disaster Declaration on Thursday for counties impacted by severe storms that killed four people and injured at least 35 others, according to the Iowa Department of Public Safety.

Greenfield was devastated by what the National Weather Service called an EF-3, and all four fatalities occurred there. NWS said Thursday some EF-4 damage was seen by surveyors.

DPS said the injury count in Greenfield is “likely higher.”

Reynolds surveyed storm damage in Greenfield on Thursday alongside FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell.

“The community of Greenfield is strong,” the governor wrote on her Facebook page. “Amid the devastation there is hope and resilience. Progress is already visible, and it will continue. Thank you to emergency management, first responders, law enforcement, health care providers, and everyone supporting the effort. God bless Greenfield. Our prayers are with you.”

Thursday morning, Reynolds sent a letter to the White House requesting a Presidential Disaster Declaration. The declaration would enable counties impacted by the storms to access FEMA’s Individual Assistance Program and the U.S. Small Business Administration’s disaster loans.

The governor also issued a disaster emergency proclamation for over 30 counties to unlock state resources for recovery efforts.

Her proclamation activates state disaster programs, providing grants of up to $5,000 per household that meet certain requirements, as well as other grants for home and car repairs and replacement of food and clothing, according to the governor’s office.

The NWS in Des Moines confirmed at least two other tornadoes from Tuesday’s storm, an EF-2 that traveled from Johnston to the south of Zearing and an EF-3 tornado that swept through Page, Montgomery, and Adams counties.

However, it could take days before the surveying is complete.

“As you could imagine, if the damage path is long or in a dense area, it can take a substantial amount of time to complete a survey of one tornado, let alone multiple tornadoes. This is one reason it can take several days to complete assessments of outbreaks or higher end events,” NWS said.

More severe weather is expected again Thursday night into Friday morning with the potential for strong winds, heavy rainfall and “a few brief tornadoes,” according to NWS Des Moines.

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