IOWA DERECHO 2020

Iowa storm updates: Latest info on recovery, shelters and more, Aug. 18

Here is the latest news on recovery efforts, cleanup, shelters opening and more in the Cedar Rapids area for Aug. 18, 2020. The Gazette staff will update this with new information as it becomes available. 

» WHERE TO FIND FOOD AND WATER: List of food and ice distribution sites, and free meals being served

» HOW TO HELP: Where to donate to help storm victims

» MORE RESOURCES: For residents affected by the storm, including tree removal help

» TREE DEBRIS DROP-OFF: Locations in the Cedar Rapids area

Drive-thru food pods no longer in service

The drive-thru assistance pods previously located at Kingston Stadium, St. Mark's Lutheran Church, and Marion Walmart have been closed as of Tuesday, Aug. 18. Food assistance remains available daily at the Neighborhood Resource Centers (scroll down for locations).

Cedar Rapids curfew shortened

The curfew in Cedar Rapids has been shortened to between midnight and 6 a.m. daily, city officials announced Tuesday afternoon. 

A curfew has been in place since Aug. 10, when the powerful derecho knocked out power to most residents' homes in the area.

AT&T customers in Cedar Rapids area won't be charged for overages in calls, data, messaging

AT&T is waiving overages for AT&T Postpaid and Prepaid customers including talk, text, and data usage from Aug. 18 through Aug. 24, the company announced Tuesday. Customers based in certain zip codes will not receive overage charges during that time period.  

Impacted zip codes: 50112, 50157, 50632, 50651, 50675, 52033, 52060, 52202, 52203, 52205, 52206, 52207, 52208, 52209, 52210, 52211, 52212, 52213, 52214, 52215, 52216, 52218, 52219, 52224, 52225, 52227, 52228, 52229, 52232, 52233, 52236, 52237, 52240, 52241, 52242, 52245, 52246, 52249, 52251, 52253, 52254, 52255, 52257, 52301, 52302, 52305, 52306, 52310, 52313, 52314, 52315, 52317, 52318, 52320, 52322, 52323, 52324, 52328, 52329, 52332, 52333, 52334, 52336, 52337, 52338, 52339, 52340, 52341, 52342, 52345, 52346, 52347, 52349, 52351, 52352, 52354, 52358, 52362, 52401, 52402, 52403, 52404, 52405, 52411, 52729, 52745, 52747, 52765, 52769, 52772, 52773, 52777, 52778

City will verify that contractors are state-licensed 

All contractors doing work locally are required to be licensed and registered through the State of Iowa. If they are licensed in another state, they still need to be licensed in Iowa to do work in Iowa.

To aid residents in finding a reputable contractor, the City of Cedar Rapids Building Services Department has created a phone line residents can call to verify a contractor is licensed. This is a verification service, not a referral service. To verify your contractor is licensed, please call the Building Services Department at 319-286-5929, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday.

Iowa contractors are licensed through the state, they are not licensed locally, and contractors licensed through the state are able to serve in any community in Iowa. The city is doing everything possible to expedite these permits so residents and their contractor can begin repairs immediately. 

Regarding demolitions: For safety, proper utility disconnections must be verified prior to demolition, which is part of the permit process. For any questions related to the permit process, please contact Building Services at 319-286-5831. 

Recycling pickup resumes Monday, yard waste on Aug. 31

The Solid Waste and Recycling Division will begin collecting recycling containers again starting next Monday.

To accommodate excess recycling, customers can place any recycling items that do not fit in their CURBY cart in a large cardboard box. The crews will collect the box and its contents for free along with other recycling on their regular collection day. 

The city expects to resume collection of the green yard waste – or YARDY – carts starting the week of Aug. 31.

The city also is working to remove non-tree-related storm debris and materials damaged in the storm and plans to begin collecting these items next week. Using contractor assistance, crews will likely follow the snow prioritization routes and move their way through neighborhoods systematically. Crews will return in multiple waves until neighborhoods have been cleared of debris.

As a reminder, place storm debris at the curb in separate piles from tree debris. 

Cedar Rapids crews have collected over 7,500 truckloads of debris

Crews continue to clear debris from streets and neighborhoods. On Monday, crews collected over 2,000 truckloads of debris, bringing the city's total to 7,584 loads. This is approximately 34 million pounds of debris already hauled out of neighborhoods.

More than 60 percent of roads are ready for hauling, which means the debris has been cleared and pushed off the street surface and is ready for pickup at the curb. Crews are actively working on over 30 percent of city routes, either prepping for haul, or actively hauling.

Residents can help give trucks room by avoiding parking on the street if at all possible. If you need to park on the street, follow the odd/even rule typically used during residential snow emergencies. Starting Wednesday, park on the odd-address side of the street on odd calendar days, and park on the even-address side of the street on even calendar days. 

Most traffic signals in Cedar Rapids are working again

The majority of signalized intersections are now operational, with 126 of 191 signals restored. Corridors back online include: Blairs Ferry, Collins Road, Wright Brothers Boulevard and Mount Vernon Road. All remaining signals should be operational by the end of the week.

Sign crews continue to reinstall stop signs and other safety related regulatory signs. They have completed this process on over half of the city's 64 emergency snow routes, including the downtown area. 

Neighborhood Resource Centers updated in Cedar Rapids

Five Neighborhood Resource Centers are open to residents in the Cedar Rapids area. On Tuesday, the center, previously located at the ROC Center, 1202 10th Street SE, was moved to Metro High School, 1212 Seventh St. SE. All of the Neighborhood Resource Center services for the ROC site are available at the Metro High School parking lot.

Updated list of Neighborhood Resource Centers: 

• Ladd Library, 3750 Williams Blvd SW

• Northwest Recreation Center parking lot, 1340 11th St. NW

• St. Paul’s Methodist Church, 1340 Third Ave. SE

• Taylor Elementary School, 720 Seventh Ave. SW

• Metro High School, 1212 Seventh St. SE

The centers will be open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily and be staffed with city employees and volunteers. The sites will provide food and daily updates on services for residents. Additional resources will continue to be added including supplies for clean-up, and legal and mental health assistance. The updates will be translated into French, Spanish, Swahili and Kirundi. The translated updates will be available at the sites a day after the English version to allow time for translation.

The sites are coordinated by Linn Area Partners Active in Disaster organizations. Services will transition as additional resident needs are assessed.

Hiawatha provides dumpster site for food waste

The City of Hiawatha has placed a dumpster in the southeast corner of Hiawatha City Hall Parking Lot for residents needing to dispose of perished food. This dumpster is to be used strictly for perished food as a result of recent power outages and not for yard waste or general trash.  

If you have any questions please call the Hiawatha City Hall at 319-393-1515

Iowa hotline, website available for mental health help

COVID Recovery Iowa is responding to the mental health needs of Iowans impacted by the recent storm. Help is available by contacting the Iowa Concern Hotline.

COVID Recovery Iowa is for Iowans who have been impacted by both the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and living in the aftermath of last week’s storms. In addition, the program offers support groups, activities, and resources and information referral, COVID Recovery Iowa offers virtual counseling to all Iowans at no cost.

COVID Recovery Iowa is administered by the Iowa Department of Human Services, made possible with support from FEMA, and is an extension of Project Recovery Iowa. COVID Recovery Iowa utilizes partnerships with a statewide network of service delivery providers to determine how best to serve each individual participant.

Iowans in need of assistance can contact the Iowa Concern Hotline at 800-447-1985 or go to covidrecoveryiowa.org. Program staff can also provide referrals and information about programs that will help Iowans manage stress, family financial and farm financial concerns.

These programs include Iowa State University Extension and Outreach farm management resources, family finance consultation, resources for parents and much more. Educational seminars and solutions also are available for farmers and businesses managing staff remotely who need support. Iowans can contact COVID Recovery Iowa to learn more and receive a response tailored to their specific personal or business needs.

Supplies available in Marion Square for storm victims

The Marion Chamber of Commerce and Churches of Marion Food Pantry have set up aid and donation stations at Marion Square,  1107 Seventh Ave., all week with many supplies for storm victims, including food, meals, water, diapers and other baby needs, and much more. The pantry is open 1 to 3 p.m. daily. 

There also are community members available to help with advice about storm recovery.

Donations can be dropped of from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. Volunteers are also needed to help distribute supplies. 

Mediacom reports 60% remain offline in Cedar Rapids area

Approximately 60% of customers remain offline mainly due to commercial power outages and extensive tree damage, Mediacom reported in an email to customers.

"We have staged crews to begin work as quickly possible once electric has been restored and we have been given access. We anticipate this restoration to take several more days with many customers having service restored by the end of the week. Please note this may take longer for some areas due to the extent of the damage."

Charging stations and internet access in Cedar Rapids 

Locations will open according to the schedule below until electrical power in Cedar Rapids has been restored:

• U.S. Cellular Center Arena (370 First Ave. NE): 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Enter the arena off First Avenue near the Fourth Street railroad tracks. Masks are required for everyone inside the arena, and individual charging stations are social-distanced.

• Downtown Public Library (450 Fifth Ave. SE): 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Thursday. Connections will be available outside of the library's main entrance.

City transit service resumes

City transit service resumed Monday, Aug. 17. Buses may be delayed. Find your bus using the bus tracker: ridecrt.com

Locations for charging medical devices in Cedar Rapids 

The following locations in Cedar Rapids are open for residents that need a place to charge medical equipment or need a day shelter. Please note that medical supplies are not available at these locations. These locations are available daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.:

 Downtown Public Library (Fifth Avenue and Fifth Street in the parking lot)

• Twin Pines Golf Course (parking lot, 3800 42nd St. NE)

• Northwest Recreation Center (parking lot), 1340 11th St. NW)

• Shores Event Center (Corner of F Avenue and 16th Street NE in the back parking lot)

Day shelters in Cedar Rapids, surrounding areas

These locations are available during the daytime for residents in need:

• Cedar Rapids: Veritas Church, 509 Third St. SE. (Hours will be listed when known)

• Center Point: Anderson Public Library, 720 Main St. 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Friday.

• Hiawatha: City of Hiawatha Community Center: 101 Emmons St. 7:30 a .m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday.

• Robins: City of Robins Community Center: 265 S. Second St., 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday.

• Springville: City of Springville City Hall: 304 Broadway St. 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday.

• Coggon: Coggon Old Fire Station: 112 Second St. S. 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday. No air conditioning.

• Palo: City of Palo Community Center: 2800 Hollenbeck Road. 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday. Also an overnight shelter.

Overnight shelters in Cedar Rapids area

The American Red Cross has opened an overnight shelters. Individuals and families who have been impacted by the storm and power outages are welcome to the shelter where Red Cross volunteers are on hand to assist. Protocols are in place to ensure social distancing and additional steps are taken to maintain a safe environment in the shelter due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

• Veterans Memorial Coliseum, 50 Second Ave. Bridge

• Palo Community Center,  2800 Hollenbeck Road. 

Anyone in need of assistance can call 1-800-RED-CROSS and select option “4,” then option “2,” then option “2” again, and provide information on their location so appropriate services can be arranged.

Download the Red Cross Emergency App for shelter information and to get instant access to information and resources. The app is free and can be downloaded in app stores by searching for “American Red Cross” or going to redcross.org/apps.

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.