KXEL Morning News for Wed. Aug. 12, 2020

KXEL Morning News for Wed. Aug. 12, 2020

Monday’s derecho storm could lead to a third of Iowa’s corn crop being affected…that’s according to Iowa Secretary of Agriculture and Land Stewardship Mike Naig, who spoke to reporters yesterday during a tour of Central Iowa farms. Naig said it would still be a few days before dollar estimates of loss could reliably be made.

Gov. Kim Reynolds issued two proclamations yesterday, declaring a total of 20 Iowa counties as disaster areas as a result of the storm. She and Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg reviewed damage in Tama and Marion yesterday afternoon. Before that, the governor held her regular news conference, at which she again discussed plans for Iowa schools to reopen this month and next and focused on studies showing the benefits of in-person learning.

Monday’s derecho caused extensive damage to schools in Cedar Rapids. The Cedar Rapids Community School District said that more than 20 of its buildings were damaged in the storms. The district said the damage ranged from minor roof issues to significant roof and structural damage. A district statement said officials are still assessing damage and its impact on the start of the school year.

Maintaining a database of information, sharing it with appropriate authorities, but ensuring the privacy of individuals and their medical condition is the balance being struck by state officials as the pandemic continues, according to state epidemiologist Dr. Caitlin Pedati. Dr. Pedati made her comments at yesterday’s state news conference on COVID-19.

The weekly drought monitor report will be released tomorrow, with very little change expected because much of the rain that fell in the derecho storm Monday won’t show up in the data until next week. State climatologist Dr. Justin Glisan told reporters yesterday that the worst drought-affected areas did get the most rain in Monday’s storm, but that it came at a heavy cost. Officially, Waterloo received two-tenths of an inch of rain Monday, plus three-tenths the day before. The heart of the derecho, Cedar Rapids, received four-tenths of an inch, all in a one hour period at the height of the storm early that afternoon.

Clean up continues across the state of Iowa in the aftermath of Monday’s storm that left a half million electric customers without power at one point, with more than 300,000 still without power for a second night last night…and authorities say it could take several days before a majority of services are restored. Some 10 million of Iowa’s 30 million acres of corn was affected, and Iowa Secretary of Agriculture and Land Stewardship Mike Naig says we won’t know the true amount of loss for a while yet. KXEL’s Tim Harwood is scheduled to talk with Secretary Naig about a variety of topics tomorrow during the 9 o’clock hour of KXEL Live & Local.

One person died in those severe storms Monday afternoon. The Linn County Sheriff’s Office said 63-year-old Thomas Rowland of Solon was biking on the bike trail near Ely Road and Wright Brothers Blvd. when the storm came through the area…Thomas was struck by one of the several trees that fell onto the bike trail. He sustained severe injuries and died at the scene.

One of eastern Iowa’s largest employers has revealed it plans to lay off 72 workers at its Cedar Rapids plant. Collins Aerospace, which manufactures aviation and military equipment, had announced on July 30 that it would lay off workers, but declined to say how many at the time. It revealed the number in a recent notice to Iowa Workforce Development. The cuts come amid declining sales numbers during the global coronavirus outbreak. Collins Aerospace President Stephen Timm says the cuts primarily affect Collins Aerospace’s commercial business functions.