Governor Chet Culver toured western Iowa Friday to survey the damage caused by this week’s ice storm. During a stop in Atlantic Friday night, the governor said the ice he observed encasing the power lines in Carroll, Crawford and Sac Counties was six-to-eight inches in diameter.
“It’s been really pretty bad out there,” Culver said.
Audubon County, for example, was still pretty-much in-the-dark county-wide on Friday and Culver said there are some real concerns in neighboring counties as well. Culver said he was touring the western part of the state to make sure relief and repair efforts are “moving in the right direction.” The governor said there was some good news, though, as far as Atlantic was concerned.
“It looks like most of the power has been restored here,” Culver said. Atlantic was devastated by ice that encased trees and power lines, caused both to snap, and rendered at least half the City powerless at the height of the storm. The governor saw miles of utility poles and lines down all across western Iowa.
“It’s unbelievable. I mean, you’re talking about hundreds and hundreds of poles,” Culver said. “In just the Denison area alone, there was 300 miles of line on the ground, hundreds of poles that were just split like toothpicks.”
Culver said he’s worried what the end-result of the damage may mean to the livestock industry and Ag-based economy.
“I’ve worked today with Secretary Northey, the ag secretary, on a creative program where we’re getting the word out and asking Iowans across the state, farmers across the state to donate or sell generators if they have extra ones available,” Culver said. “We’re going to also work with the RECs and try to find extra generators there because of the long-term outage concern and the importance of keeping these livestock operations up and running.”
The number for the “Safeguard Iowa Partnership” is 515-246-1707 or 1-800-447-1895.
As if the damage and lack of power weren’t bad enough, the Governor acknowledged some unscrupulous individuals were trying to take advantage of Iowans who are struggling to recover from the natural disaster, by scamming them on tree-trimming services or generator sales.
“We stand ready to hold anyone accountable for taking advantage of Iowans during this storm and there will be consequences for those that try,” Culver said. If you or someone you know has been taken advantage of from a “fly-by-night operator” who is not certified by the city they are operating in, call the Iowa Attorney General’s office at 1-888-777-4590.
(Reporting by Ric Hanson, KJAN Atlantic)