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Power outages lead to questions about storm damage cleanup

Published: Aug. 11, 2020 at 10:16 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - As people are busy picking up the pieces after Monday’s storm, many in Cedar Rapids are still without power. 

“The only way I can charge my phone is to run the van...but I’m almost at E so I won’t be able to charge my phone anymore,” says Anthony Ridgeway, who lives in Cedar Rapids. He says walking around his neighborhood, there are piles of tree branches in front of every house, and power lines laying across the road. 

Alliant Energy says it will take days to get everything up and running. A spokesperson from the company says repairs will start at places like hospitals and nursing homes where there’s immediate danger, and then move on to businesses and neighborhoods.

The lack of power is making it difficult for city officials to communicate with people about what to do with all the debris from the storm. Cedar Rapids Public Works says it’s working with contractors to clean up the city. Just like power companies, they’re starting in areas with immediate danger, such as blocked roads and intersections.  Once those are clear, they’ll move into neighborhoods to pick up piles of debris. 

The City of Cedar Rapids is asking people to put fallen trees and branches on the curb in order to keep the road and sidewalks clear. They’re also asking people to separate branches from other kinds of debris, like shingles or siding. “This was a really big storm, we haven’t seen power go out in the entire city for a long time. We’ve lost a good percentage of our tree canopy across the city that has come down,” says Jen Winter, Director of Cedar Rapids Public Works. She says it will take around a month to clean up all the damage. 

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