Recovery Efforts Continue After Deadly EF-5 Tornado

A firefighter walks through rubble piled along the streets after Sunday's deadly tornado demolished the southern portion of Parkersburg on Monday, May 26, 2008. (Photo by Courtney Sargent/The Gazette)

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By Becky Ogann

PARKERSBURG - Clean up and recovery efforts continue in Parkersburg and other NE Iowa towns affected by the severe weather on Sunday. The National Weather Service has rated the deadly tornado an EF5. That makes it the state's strongest tornado in 32 years.

The twister tore through Parkersburg and nearby towns on Sunday, killing eight people and destroying neighborhoods with winds up to 205 miles per hour.

KCRG-TV9 is partnering with Cumulus Broadcasting and asking you to get involved in this effort to raise money for the people affected by the 2008 Tornadoes. The local bands Lockren and Wildcard will perform during the three-hour, family event beginning at 3:00 on Sunday, June 1st. More Info.

FEMA has set up a temporary office at the Parkersburg American Legion. Donations are being taken at a variety of location, check the link at left for the full list.

Those who died in Parkersburg are: Bertha Eckhoff, 85, Charles Horan, 72, Richard and Ethel Mulder, both 80, Ray Meycocks, 74, and Shirley Luhring, 71. Two other people died in New Hartford from the storm. Lisa Bleeker, 71, and Norman Beuthine, 48. The names of the victims have not been officially released. Funeral homes and relatives have identified many of the victims. Funeral services are pending.

The National Weather Service personnel have rated the Parkersburg-New Hartford-Dunkerton tornado as a Low-end EF 5 (correlated to wind speeds up to 205 MPH) on the Enhanced Fujita Scale at the locations of maximum damage. (For more info on the Enhanced Fujta Scale click on the link at left). This is the first EF5 tornado in Iowa since the Jordan tornado of June 13, 1976.

The NWS has determined that another tornado hit in Dubuque County, the 5th confirmed tornado from Sunday's outbreak. They're saying it was an EF-1 tornado, that means winds in the tornado were between 86 and 109 miles per hour. Check out these photos submitted to YouNewsTV of New Wine Park in the New Vienna area. Officials continue to investigate a suspected damage path to determine how long the tornado was on the ground.

President George Bush also made a federal declaration. He says a major disaster exists in Iowa. That declaration will now make federal money available for temporary housing, home repairs and other assistance.

If you have found any storm debris like pictures, valuable and similar items not belonging to you, please take those items to the New Hartford Fire Department. Also, storm victims can search through items there to see if their belongings have been found.

Governor Culver says about 50 people in all were injured, including one in critical condition. That total is less than officials had earlier estimated.

The governor also announced that federal and state disaster declarations will bring more help to northeast Iowa residents struggling to rebuild their lives.

The Red Cross Service Center:
St. Patrick Catholic Church
304 Second Street
Parkersburg, IA
Friday, May 30th, 9 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Saturday, May 31st, 9 a.m – 8 p.m.
Sunday, June 1st, 1 p.m. – 7 p.m.

Disaster Assistance #'s:
Butler County
319-267-9111

Black Hawk County
319-291-4373

Buchanan County
319-334-2568

Federal Disaster Assistance
877-937-3663

FEMA
Federal Individual Assistance Registration (Butler County Residents)
www.fema.gov (24 hour)
800-621-3362 (8 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week)
800-462-7585 (TTY) (8 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week)

Iowa Individual Disaster Assistance Grant Program
Black Hawk, Buchanan, and Delaware County Residents
Look for the words Storm Help
877-937-3663

American Red Cross
Request Assistance (866) GET-INFO

To Donate Goods and Services
Iowa Concern Hotline (800) 447-1985

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