The forces of nature can leave behind debris-strewn areas, contaminated water, spoiled food and conditions that could lead to health problems. "Storm Recovery Guide," available from Iowa State University Extension, is a handy and helpful publication that includes information to help Iowans avoid and recover from some of the hazards created by storms and adverse weather, wind and water.
The guide covers a range of topics, from salvaging belongings and restoring damaged buildings to documenting losses and handling stress. It's available from ISU Extension county offices and for free download from the ISU Extension Store www.extension.iastate.edu/store (enter storm recovery guide in search box).
For answers to household cleanup questions following a storm or other disaster, call ISU Extension's Answer Line at 800-262-3804. For information about legal issues, financial concerns, stress or crisis, call Iowa Concern at 800-447-1985.
Remember to take care of people first; then deal with the things that were damaged or lost, ISU Extension specialists advise.
Tornadoes' toll last week is estimated to be 225 houses
At least 225 homes in rural areas were damaged by the Saturday night April 9 tornadoes in the northwest and western Iowa counties of Monona, Buena Vista, Sac and Pocahontas counties, the American Red Cross reported on April 13. The Red Cross estimates that in the town of Mapleton alone, there were 142 homes and businesses hit. Half of the town of Mapleton was flattened by the twister that struck there on Saturday night.
Forty of the homes were completely destroyed and a number of others were severely damaged, the Red Cross estimates. There were also a number of livestock buildings and machine sheds destroyed or significantly damaged on farms in those counties. Jim and Paula Murray, who live a few miles west of Pocahontas, hid in the basement of their farm home while a tornado passed. The twister flipped their John Deere combine several times before dropping it into a field. It had been in a machine shed on their farm.
"There was an eight inch slab of concrete over the basement," says Paula Murray. "It's in five pieces in a field nearby." The Murrays hid in their basement while the tornado destroyed their home. Friends and neighbors walked through the fields surrounding the Murray farm for two days after the tornado struck, helping pick up debris, pile it on a wagon and haul it back to a junk pile at the farmstead.'