Tornadoes, flooding and other storm damage around the state this summer have kept Iowa Department of Transportation workers busy with chores other than road construction. D.O.T. spokesperson Dena Gray-Fisher says the state’s heavy machinery is especially helpful in small towns.

“Part of the role for the D.O.T. during an emergency situation is to assist when there are no resources at the local level to accomplish those tasks,” Gray-Fisher said. “The state can step in and assist the communities, many of which are very small and simply don’t have the resources.”

 D.O.T. trucks, front end loaders and chippers will be used for debris removal – beginning today  in the northwest Iowa towns of Albert City, Alta, Lakeside and Storm Lake..”We’re also working in Monona County where they had some severe flooding. We’re working in Eddyville and Oskaloosa as well – transporting sandbags, pumping water, hauling debris…a wide range of responsibilities,” Gray-Fisher said.

The work in Monona County, in the town of Blencoe, is expected to begin next Monday and last three to four days. The D.O.T. is also providing a dump truck to the town of Whiting which was hit by a tornado last Sunday.

Gray-Fisher says there’s a lot of manpower and equipment going into storm clean up around the state. “For instance, in Buena Vista County, we’re talking about sending crews to up to four different communities. So, that’ll take a number of operators and pieces of equipment to accomplish those tasks,” Gray-Fisher said.

Governor Chet Culver has issued state disaster proclamations for 50 of Iowa’s 99 counties from storms in June and July. Boone and Story Counties were added to the list Tuesday.