The Ottumwa Courier

May 8, 2013

Disaster declaration includes southeast Iowa

By CINDY TOOPES
Courier staff writer

---- — OTTUMWA — Storm damage and heavy rainfall last month in southeast Iowa, including Wapello County, was enough reason for a disaster declaration by Gov. Branstad.

Wapello County Supervisor Jerry Parker said Wednesday the county is working to repair some of the structures impacted by the inclement weather.

"If we have damage to the structures, we can look at doing things so they don't get damaged in the future," he said. "If we get the same thing again we'll be prepared for it."

Parker said there wasn't much money available statewide, but a lot of counties didn't have damage to mitigate. He noted Wapello County did get a lot of rain.

"Since we got all that rain, if we're successful in getting the money, those damages may not happen again and we can prepare for it," he said. "We'd like part of the money but that doesn't fix it. That just allows you to prepare so you don't get in a hole in the future."

Lori Altheide of the Natural Resources Conservation Service, said her board has submitted a request to Jay Mar, the state conservationist for the NRCS. The request was for assistance through Emergency Watershed Protection.

Because of the damages due to a 100-year storm, people are expecting help from FEMA, she added.

"Anytime there is more than 6 inches of rain in 24 hours, that's considered a 100-year storm event," Altheide said.

She noted Wapello County Engineer Brian Moore logged in a lot of damages, such as log jams, threatening bridge abutments, washouts around bridges, roads and road culverts.

And, Altheide also noted Wapello County had two main washouts that took two road sections, a bridge abutment and bridge decks.

The recent disaster declaration included every county in the Courier's coverage area including Appanoose, Davis, Jefferson, Keokuk, Monroe, Van Buren, and Wapello counties. Last month, Mahaska County was also included in that disaster declaration by the governor.