Governor Tom Vilsack spent Tuesday night in the White House and personally asked President Bush for tornado disaster aid for eastern Iowa. Vilsack plans to land in Cedar Rapids late this afternoon and meet with local media there.
More than two-hundred homes and businesses were damaged or destroyed in Iowa City last Thursday. Johnson County officials have released the 9-1-1 tapes from that night and you can hear the callers reacting as the tornadoes bore down. Someone from the Menard’s on the south side of Iowa City called to report the extensive damage there. “We got part of the roof blow off. We got windows busted out. We’ve got debris everywhere,” the man said. “Is anyone hurt?” the 9-1-1 operator asked. “We don’t know of anybody that’s hurt but we’ve got lots of people in the building,” the man responded.
Another caller reported damage to St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in downtown Iowa City. “We just saw a tornado rip the top off a church,” the man told the 9-1-1 operator. Another caller was so upset you can hardly understand what they’re saying but you can hear the terror in their voice when they screamed “It’s coming back down!”