The city arborist in Vinton says once the clean up from Monday’s storm is over, the Benton County town will have lost up to 75% of its trees. Jeff Schadle says the yard waste dump site north of Vinton is overflowing with branches and limbs. He’s received clearance from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources to burn the massive pile of brush to make room for more.

“Everything’s changed…my whole tree management plan is out the door, and we’re starting over from scratch,” Schadle said. The burn will likely take place within the next few days. Vinton Mayor John Watson says residents need a place to toss their debris, so the city can continue working on restoring power and clearing streets.

“It’s critical for the citizens to have a place to go,” Watson said. “We good Iowans aren’t going to stop working just because it’s nightfall or another day, we’re going to work until the job’s done.” The brush pile is now 15 feet high, weighs well over a ton and stretches several hundred feet along a dirt road. Monday’s storm damaged homes, trees and power lines through much of central and eastern Iowa.

The strongest winds, near 130 miles per hour, were recorded in Vinton and Garrison.

By Jillian Petrus, KCRG-TV, Cedar Rapids