IOWA DERECHO 2020

Derecho by the digits: Numbers help tell the story of the storm

An uprooted tree from the city right of way leans Aug, 10 on a fence in Cedar Rapids after a powerful storm with straigh
An uprooted tree from the city right of way leans Aug, 10 on a fence in Cedar Rapids after a powerful storm with straight-line winds moved through Iowa. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
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The Aug. 10 derecho wreaked nearly $4 billion worth of destruction in Iowa, the state estimated in its application for a presidential declaration for federal aid. But that one number alone does not capture the sweep of the storm or the gargantuan efforts to recover.

Here are some other numbers, as of 5 p.m. Wednesday, that help tell the story of the storm in a snapshot:

23,000

Estimate of Cedar Rapids-owned trees lost or need to be taken down because of the derecho.

Trees Forever advises oaks, if possible, shouldn’t be pruned in until winter to prevent the spread of oak wilt.

70,360

Meals served up by Operation BBQ Relief, deployed to Cedar Rapids since Aug. 16.

Gov. Kim Reynolds presented the 8 millionth meal in the operation’s history Aug. 21 to Pam Hinman, spokeswoman for The Eastern Iowa Airport, who has been volunteering throughout the deployment.

58,872

Tons of tree debris hauled away by Cedar Rapids crews.

The city had nearly 22 percent of the first curbside pickup done by Wednesday afternoon.

Over 3,400

The number of power poles replaced by Alliant Energy.

The utility is doing the degree of work in a few weeks it would typically do in eight months.

Over 1,000

Wooden or metal poles used by ITC Midwest to rebuild the power grid.

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The previous record was 480 after an ice storm in April 2019 affecting Northern Iowa and southern Minnesota.

401

Miles of high-voltage lines ITC Midwest repaired in Linn and Johnson counties.

ITC Midwest brought in crews from as far as Georgia and North Carolina to help with repairs.

Over 130,000

Customers in Linn and Johnson counties initially without power after the storm.

Almost three quarters of Corridor residents were in the dark at the peak of outages.

Over 780

Number of utility workers who were making repairs each day for ITC Midwest.

They drank more than 2,500 water bottles each day.

About 63

Number of Eastern Iowa school buildings damaged in the storm.

High school buildings in the Cedar Rapids district, including Kennedy, Washington and Jefferson, won’t be safe for occupancy possibly until January.

4,174

Total number of calls for service fielded by the Cedar Rapids Police Department after the storm.

Of those, 664 were calls for welfare checks from people who were unable to reach loved ones after the storm.

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2,071

Total number of calls for service fielded by the Cedar Rapids Fire Department after the storm.

That’s close four times the 559 calls the fire department fielded during a similar time period the year before.

392

Number of fires after the storm Cedar Rapids firefighters were called to fight.

Eight-five of them were structure fires and 307 were outdoor fires.

18

Number of rescues Cedar Rapids firefighters responded to after the storm.

Calls included 12 regarding structure collapses or confined spaces and six entrapments or extrications. A spokesman said firefighters also responded to 85 structure fires, 148 electrical hazards or downed power lines and 125 citizen assists, all of which could have included additional rescue-type situations.

21,460

Total number of calls fielded after the storm by the Cedar Rapids Joint Communications Agency.

Public safety spokesman Greg Buelow said emergency dispatchers fielded 7,329 911 calls and 14,131 non-emergency calls.

53

Refugees and immigrants who have stayed at a shelter at the Catherine McAuley Center.

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The nonprofit set up the shelter for immigrant community members displaced from their southwest Cedar Rapids apartments. About half have stayed for two to three nights, and half have stayed for more than a week.

Nearly 1,500

Number of overnight stays in hotels provided by the Red Cross in the wake of the storm.

“Some people stay one night and some people stay multiple nights,” said Josh Murray, regional communications director for the American Red Cross — Nebraska-Iowa Region.

Alison Gowans, Erin Jordan, Grace King, Marissa Payne, Kat Russell and John Steppe of The Gazette contributed.

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