Governor Kim Reynolds visits Linn County Emergency Management to discuss prep, mitigation efforts

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Governor Kim Reynolds visited Cedar Rapids Thursday to speak with area experts and members of the Linn County Emergency Management team. This comes after the governor says 57 counties in Iowa have received the governor's disaster proclamation.

Governor Kim Reynolds spoke with Linn County Emergency Management and area flood experts to discuss potential planning and mitigation opportunities in the state. (Marlon Hall, KCRG)

Gov. Reynolds said Thursday served as an opportunity to see some of the strategies the Linn County Emergency Management team is using when reacting to and preparing for flooding, especially considering the next round of flooding soon to western Iowa and the rest of the state.

In a press conference after her meetings with area emergency management and area experts, Gov. Reynolds said a lot of what they discussed related to potential planning for the future. Both experts and Gov. Reynolds acknowledged the necessary work is far from done, in order to best provide flood protection for Iowans.

"We'll continue to travel throughout the state and meet with communities to make sure that they're getting what they need and to make sure that we are not a barrier in that process but a partner," Gov. Reynolds said.

Gov. Reynolds spoke with a handful of area experts from the University of Iowa's IIHR - Hydroscience & Engineering program, who partners with the Iowa Flood Center. They explained the need for more, and stronger, flood mitigation efforts, like building new levees or watershed projects that can hold water back.

However, those experts admit that will not happen overnight and will take time to develop over the course of the coming years.

"Flooding is a disaster that's repetitively impacted Iowa, and we really need to take planning very seriously in the state," said Larry Weber, the University of Iowa Edwin B. Green Chair in Hydraulics.

"We are working on all of those fronts, but Mother Nature is difficult to predict," said Witold Krajewski, Director of the Iowa Flood Center.

Both Krajewski and Weber said it is extremely important that the state keeps taking steps forward and funding those projects.

Gov. Reynolds said the discussion Thursday also served as part of the state's Severe Weather Awareness Week. For more information on how to receive aid, they have created a website to help people find those resources.

For general tips for staying prepared and ready for potential severe weather, people are encouraged to visit the Ready Iowa website.