OTTUMWA — The severe weather that rolled through southeast Iowa Sunday did damage all over Ottumwa, including knocking down power lines, uprooting trees, sending trampolines into trees and damaging many residents' roofs.
In the wake of the storm, trees and limbs lined the city’s streets, parks and cemeteries, left for city officials and community members to pick up and dispose.
The cleaning efforts started on Monday, but according to Ottumwa’s Public Information Officer Tom Rodgers, it could continue through the week.
“It takes us a few days to get the feel of the extent of the damage,” he said. “It’s an ongoing process.”
Ottumwa’s parks and cemeteries were some of the areas affected the worst by the raging winds of the storm, but thankfully there was no property severely damaged, according to Park Department Director Gene Rathje.
He said there was a tree that fell on a fence surrounding the Ottumwa Cemetery that also damaged a headstone, and trees were blocking the paths at Greater Ottumwa Park, but nothing was worse than that.
“It could have been worse,” Rathje said.
The city uses a tree service contractor to remove some of the fallen trees from the city’s properties, like the one that fell on a car outside of City Hall, and Rathje said he will be in Ottumwa the rest of the week.
For trees and limbs that are down in residents' yards, the city is offering services to help get rid of the mess.
Smaller amounts of debris can be put out for weekly curbside yard waste collection in Ottumwa/Wapello brown paper yard waste bags, which can be purchased at most grocery stores for a dollar. Also, brush and limbs that are less than 3 inches in diameter can be cut into lengths no more than 3 feet and tied into bundles of no more than 50 pounds each for curbside pickup. Keep in mind, though, the yard debris is supposed to be placed in piles next to the regular trash, not in the trash cart.
For the larger amounts of debris and trees, community members can take them to the Ottumwa/Wapello Landfill between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday or 7 a.m. to noon on Saturdays at no charge.
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