Iowa storm updates: Latest info on recovery efforts in the Cedar Rapids area, Aug. 21

Here is the latest news on recovery efforts, cleanup, shelters opening and more in the Cedar Rapids area for Thursday, Aug. 21. The Gazette staff will update this with new information as it becomes available. 

» WHERE TO FIND FOOD AND WATER: List of food and ice distribution sites, and free meals being served

» HOW TO HELP: Where to donate to help storm victims

» MORE RESOURCES: For residents affected by the storm, including tree removal help

» TREE DEBRIS DROP-OFF: Locations in the Cedar Rapids area 

Cooling location opens at U.S. Cellular Center on Saturday

With hot weather forecast for the weekend, the City of Cedar Rapids is opening the U.S. Cellular Center as a cooling station from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. Charging stations will also be available. 

Temperatures on Saturday and Sunday are expected to be near 90 during the day, according to the National Weather Service in the Quad Cities. More cooling locations may open during the weekend if necessary, city officials said Friday.


Crisis Cleanup available to help with storm recovery

For residents seeking cleanup and repair help, the city of Cedar Rapids recommends calling Crisis Cleanup at 844-965-1386 or visiting the organization’s website at The organization helps connect people to groups and volunteers that can help. 

Education associations distributing food, supplies on Friday

Join Iowa educators Friday as they distribute supplies to families and students negatively impacted by the recent derecho. Families may stop by and get dinner as educators pass out truckloads of supplies gathered by their local organizations.

IBEW Hall, 1211 Wiley Blvd. SW, (parking lot) Cedar Rapids, 5 to 7 p.m. Friday

Participating groups: Cedar Rapids Education Association (CREA), Cedar Rapids Organization of Teachers Associates (CROTA), Des Moines Education Association (DMEA), Davenport Education Association (DEA), Bettendorf Education Association (BEA).

Four state parks closed after derecho

Four state parks will remain closed until at least Aug. 31: Palisades-Kepler State Park (Linn County), Pleasant Creek State Recreation Area (Linn County), Lake Macbride State Park (Johnson County) and Wapsipinicon State Park (Jones County) will remain closed through the end of the month as staff continue to focus on clean-up efforts of storm damage at these parks.

How to apply for FEMA assistance

Those who suffered losses in Linn County can begin applying for assistance by:

Calling 1-800-621-3362 or 1-800-462-7585 for TTY users. Users of 711 or Video Relay Service may call 1-800-621-3362. The toll-free telephone numbers operate from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Iowa time seven days a week for now.

Or register online at

You’ll need this information to complete your registration:

 Social Security Number (SSN) OR the SSN of a minor child in the household who is a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national or qualified alien

 Annual household income

 Contact information: Phone number, mailing address, email address*, and damaged home address (*You must provide an email address if you want to review your registration status online. If you do not provide an email address, you will be required to contact FEMA for any updates to your registration.)

 Insurance Information (coverage, insurance company name, etc.)

 Bank account information (if you are eligible to receive financial assistance, the money can be deposited in your account)

Red Cross providing financial aid for storm victims

The American Red Cross will deliver emergency financial assistance to households whose residences sustained major damage or were destroyed. Qualified households will be eligible for $450 to support emergency needs. Funds will be made available using Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT).

To complete applications, heads of household are encouraged to call 1-800-REDCROSS, and select prompt 4. The financial assistance application requires a valid text-enabled phone number and/or an email address for processing.

Funds can help families replace clothes or food, offset transportation costs or support other immediate needs. This financial support is in addition to the other services the Red Cross continues to provide, including cleaning supplies, food, health and mental health support, and spiritual care.

To qualify for Red Cross immediate assistance, heads of household may be asked to verify their identity and residency. Documentation to validate identity can include U.S. or foreign passport, government issued driver’s license or ID, permanent resident card or consular identification. Documents to validate proof of residence can include a valid government issued driver’s license or ID, a deed, a mortgage statement, a lease or rental agreement on property letterhead signed by landlord, a monthly utility bill or bank statement, or an official document such as mail from a child’s school or vehicle insurance card, dated between July 11, 2020 and Sept. 9, 2020.

All Red Cross services, including financial assistance, are free and available to whoever needs it, regardless of citizenship or residency status, nationality, race, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, class or political opinions.

Regardless of whether a household qualifies for immediate financial assistance, other forms of Red Cross support are available for everyone affected. This support includes cleaning supplies, food, health and mental health support, spiritual care and more. To learn about other resources that may be available to assist households as a result of Iowa Derecho, call 2-1-1 or visit

Assistance for Iowa WIC families for food replacement

The Iowa Department of Public Health announces additional assistance for WIC families following the the Aug. 10 derecho. Families living in the 16 counties designated under the federal disaster declaration are eligible.

“We understand families may be concerned about food lost during power outages. This assistance will help replace food supplies that were damaged,” said Jill Lange, IDPH Chief of the Bureau of Nutrition and Physical Activity.

WIC families currently receiving benefits and living in Benton, Boone, Cedar, Clinton, Dallas, Jasper, Johnson, Jones, Linn, Marshall, Muscatine, Polk, Poweshiek, Scott, Story and Tama Counties can request to replace WIC foods. WIC foods purchased between Aug. 1 and 10 and destroyed or spoiled as the result of storm damage or power outage may be replaced. Any WIC foods purchased after Aug. 10 are not eligible for replacement. WIC families must contact their local WIC agency no later than Aug. 31 to be considered for food replacement.

Visit the IDPH website at for more information on WIC and to find local offices.

Overnight shelter still open in Cedar Rapids, but Palo, Marion shelters close

An overnight shelter is available in Cedar Rapids at Veterans Memorial Coliseum, 50 Second Ave. Bridge. Shelters in Palo and Marion have been closed, since the need for the shelter has diminished, officials said. 

Protocols are in place to ensure social distancing and additional steps are taken to maintain a safe environment in the shelter due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Anyone in need of assistance can call 1-800-RED-CROSS and select option “4,” then option “2,” then option “2” again, and provide information on their location so appropriate services can be arranged.

Download the Red Cross Emergency App for shelter information and to get instant access to information and resources. The app is free and can be downloaded in app stores by searching for “American Red Cross” or going to

Get rent, mortgage help through grant

The Iowa Association of Realtors and National Association of Realtors have announced a grant program for individuals in need of rent or mortgage assistance from the impact of derecho. 

Apply at This grant can help individuals affected by the storm with mortgage payment assistance or rental costs due to displacement up to $1,000 per applicant.

Some scenarios that would be eligible:

A homeowner with a mortgage who was displaced due to damage of their home.

• A homeowner with a mortgage living in their home without power due to the storm damage.

• A renter who was displaced due to damage of their apartment building.

Marion residents can use online form to report storm-related needs 

On Thursday, the city of Marion launched an online tool for reporting ongoing storm-related needs. It is designed to help city leaders gain a better understanding of individual needs and connect residents with the appropriate resources. Find the online request form at Those without internet access can continue to call 319-743-6300.

Do not stack debris where National Guard has already cleared

As you’re clearing debris from your yards, please do not stack it in areas cleared by the National Guard. The spaces are being cleared to allow power utility trucks a place to safely locate and connect service, home-by-home on every street, the city of Cedar Rapids and Gov. Kim Reynolds said Thursday. Placing debris in these locations prevents the trucks from getting to your street.


Tree removal updates from the city

A map of tree debris removal progress will be updated daily by the City of Cedar Rapids. The map will give residents a general idea of the status of their neighborhood. Find the map here

Check trees on your property to ensure there are no structural issues

Because of storm severity and out of a concern for safety, the City of Cedar Rapids encourages residents to pay special attention to their trees and ensure there are no structural issues. Information regarding private property and right-of-way trees

• Right-of-way, city trees: These trees will be assessed over the next several months to determine if they will survive long term.

• Trees on private property: Residents are encouraged to do a thorough examination of trees on their property. Look up into the tree canopy for broken or dead limbs and check for signs that indicate a tree may be in distress.

• Find a certified arborist. Not all tree services have certified arborists on staff who can assess the structural integrity of trees and determine if they will recover. The forestry division maintains list of resources to help residents find a certified arborist, available here.

How to verify if contractors are licensed in Iowa

Any general contractor doing work locally is required to be licensed and registered through the State of Iowa. Cedar Rapids and Marion have created ways to help verify if your contractor is able to work in Iowa. Visit or call the Cedar Rapids Building Services Department at 319-286-5929, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday.

What you need to know about permits for repair, demolition work

Call before digging: The Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) reminds anyone whose restoration efforts involve digging to call 811 or visit the Iowa One Call website for information on scheduling a utility locate before beginning a project.


Home Repair Permits: Permits are required for home repairs, including roof or structural repairs, or substantial interior repairs. Your contractor is responsible for obtaining the appropriate permits from our Building Services department. The City is doing everything possible to expedite these permits so residents and their contractor can begin repairs immediately.

Additional questions about permits can be directed to our Building Services Department at 286-5831.

Demolitions: For safety, proper utility disconnections must be verified prior to demolition, which is part of the permit process. For any questions related to the permit process, please contact Building Services at 319-286-5831.


Emergency repair work can begin without a permit. However, building permits are required for home repairs, including roof or structural repairs, or substantial interior repairs. Contractors are responsible for obtaining the appropriate permits from the City of Marion.

Permits are not required for tree removal. A list of local and registered non-local tree removal companies is linked at Be sure to check this list as you consider entering into agreements with non-local companies that you may not be familiar with.

More information about building permits is available at Questions may be directed to the Building Services Division at 319-743-6330.

Placards: Some buildings have been placarded with yellow and red cards. A yellow placard indicates home/business owners can enter at their own risk, making it permissible to go in and collect belongings. A red placard indicates a structural or electrical issue and it is not safe to enter. Only qualified contractors are permitted to enter.

Inspections: Building inspections are being handled in order of necessity (i.e. electrical, concrete/foundation work and underground plumbing). The department expects regular inspections will resume by the end of the week.

Rental inspections will be delayed for at least six weeks. The City will be communicating with landlords to clarify the responsibilities of tenants and owners.

Recycling pickup resumes Monday, yard waste pickup restarts Aug. 31

The Solid Waste and Recycling Division will begin collecting recycling containers again starting next Monday, Aug. 24.

Customers can place any recycling items that do not fit in their CURBY cart in a large cardboard box. The crews will collect the box and its contents for free along with other recycling on their regular collection day. 

The city expects to resume collection of the green yard waste – or YARDY – carts starting the week of Aug. 31.

The city also is working to remove non-tree-related storm debris and materials damaged in the storm and plans to begin collecting these items next week. Place storm debris at the curb in separate piles from tree debris. 

Please do NOT dispose of lithium ion batteries in your cart or in debris piles. These require special disposal at the Solid Waste Agency at 1954 County Home Road, Marion. Details:

Neighborhood Resource Centers updated in Cedar Rapids

Five Neighborhood Resource Centers are open to residents in the Cedar Rapids area. The centers are open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily and be staffed with city employees and volunteers. The sites will provide food and daily updates on services for residents. Additional resources will continue to be added including supplies for clean-up, and legal and mental health assistance. The updates will be translated into French, Spanish, Swahili and Kirundi. The translated updates will be available at the sites a day after the English version to allow time for translation.

• Ladd Library, 3750 Williams Blvd SW

• Northwest Recreation Center parking lot, 1340 11th St. NW

• St. Paul’s Methodist Church, 1340 Third Ave. SE

• Taylor Elementary School, 720 Seventh Ave. SW

• Metro High School, 1212 Seventh St. SE

The sites are coordinated by Linn Area Partners Active in Disaster organizations. Services will transition as additional resident needs are assessed.

Iowa hotline, website available for mental health help

COVID Recovery Iowa is responding to the mental health needs of Iowans impacted by the recent storm. Help is available by contacting the Iowa Concern Hotline.

Iowans in need of assistance can contact the Iowa Concern Hotline at 800-447-1985 or go to Program staff can also provide referrals and information about programs that will help Iowans manage stress, family financial and farm financial concerns.

Charging stations and internet access in Cedar Rapids 

Locations will open according to the schedule below until electrical power in Cedar Rapids has been restored:

• U.S. Cellular Center Arena (370 First Ave. NE): 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Enter the arena off First Avenue near the Fourth Street railroad tracks. Masks are required for everyone inside the arena, and individual charging stations are social-distanced.

• Downtown Public Library (450 Fifth Ave. SE): 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Thursday. Connections will be available outside of the library’s main entrance.

Locations for charging medical devices in Cedar Rapids 

The following locations in Cedar Rapids are open for residents that need a place to charge medical equipment or need a day shelter. Please note that medical supplies are not available at these locations. These locations are available daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.:

 Downtown Public Library (Fifth Avenue and Fifth Street in the parking lot)

• Twin Pines Golf Course (parking lot, 3800 42nd St. NE)

• Northwest Recreation Center (parking lot), 1340 11th St. NW)

• Shores Event Center (Corner of F Avenue and 16th Street NE in the back parking lot)

Day shelters in Cedar Rapids, surrounding areas

These locations are available during the daytime for residents in need:

• Cedar Rapids: Veritas Church, 509 Third St. SE. (Hours will be listed when known)

• Center Point: Anderson Public Library, 720 Main St. 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Friday.

• Hiawatha: City of Hiawatha Community Center: 101 Emmons St. 7:30 a .m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday.

• Robins: City of Robins Community Center: 265 S. Second St., 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday.

• Springville: City of Springville City Hall: 304 Broadway St. 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday.

• Coggon: Coggon Old Fire Station: 112 Second St. S. 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday. No air conditioning.

• Palo: City of Palo Community Center: 2800 Hollenbeck Road. 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday. 

• Lisbon: Southeast Linn Community Center, 108 S. Washington St. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday. Air-conditioning, WiFi. Food pantry available for Lisbon and Mount Vernon residents.

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