Capital Clicks

Reynolds commends Iowans on storm response

By: - December 16, 2021 3:41 pm

Storms and gusty winds tore the roof off of a barn in northwestern Greene County on Dec. 15. (Photo by Jared Strong/Iowa Capital Dispatch)

Powerful windstorms swept through Iowa on Wednesday night, resulting in school closures, power outages and painful reminders of the devastating 2020 derecho. But on the sunny Thursday morning that followed, Gov. Kim Reynolds observed that the storm could have been “a lot worse,” and she praised Iowans for taking safety precautions.

“I think they really paid attention, and they got off the roads and did what they were supposed to do,” Reynolds said.

A severe windstorm swept across the Midwest on Dec. 15, 2021. (Visualization by National Weather Service)

Reynolds said there had been a knot in her stomach as she waited for the storm to hit Iowa on Wednesday, especially in the wake of severe weather events in Kentucky and Missouri that killed over 80 people. Overall, Reynolds said, Iowans paid attention to emergency guidance and responded well to the storm, which resulted in one known fatality in Iowa.

“People have been impacted, so I don’t want to take this lightly, but we really lucked out,” she said. “It could have been potentially a lot worse than it even was.”

Reynolds said the August 2020 derecho informed public safety officials and individuals how to best respond to weather emergencies.

“Unfortunately, we’re getting a little too much practice in knowing what we need to do to address severe weather events like this,” she said.

On Thursday morning, Reynold signed a disaster proclamation for nearly half of Iowa’s counties, allowing residents in the hardest-hit areas to apply for individual assistance grants. She said state officials were still surveying the extent of the damage across the state.

Reynolds said she “would be surprised” if the state needs to seek federal disaster aid to repair storm damage.

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Katie Akin
Katie Akin

Reporter Katie Akin began her career as an intern at PolitiFact, debunking viral fake news and fact-checking state and national politicians. She moved to Iowa in 2019 for a politics internship at the Des Moines Register, where she assisted with Iowa Caucus coverage, multimedia projects and the Register’s Iowa Poll. She became the Register’s retail reporter in early 2020, chronicling the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Central Iowa’s restaurants and retailers.