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A few quick thoughts on what I saw in Cedar Rapids today (1/?):
The destruction is literally EVERYWHERE. I’ve been other places where a natural disaster has struck, and you eventually drive out of the damage zone. Not so in #CedarRapids. #derecho
This storm spared very damn little. Huge...HUGE...probably 150 year old trees felled. Billboards blown away. The KCRG marquee in pieces. Traffic signals snapped at the base. I started seeing overturned grain bins as far out as Anamosa. A motorhome along the highway was toppled.
The historic neighborhoods near Brucemore and Bever Park seem to have gotten the worst of it. Debris still hangs over the side of the road even on major streets in the area. Some side streets are barely passable.
You really can’t understand the extent of the destruction until you see it from the ground. 10-foot chunks of tree stacked up taller than two people. Trees hanging very precariously on power lines. Helicopter shots don’t do it justice.
The thing I wasn’t prepared for was the smell of brush fires. I could smell them INSIDE my vehicle with the windows rolled up starting at about Anamosa, and you don’t lose the smell until you get a couple miles inside the city limits.
I, frankly, don’t know where all of the downed trees can go. There’s just so much. I read this afternoon that Cedar Rapids has lost a full one half of its total tree canopy. And these are not small trees. We’re talking trunks two feet in diameter.
But man, you cannot beat the resiliency of Iowans. There was no one that I saw that was defeated by what has happened. Everyone seems to have moved past the initial shock into a different mode. “It could be worse” was a phrase repeated over and over again.
Don’t let that optimism of whatever you want to call it fool you, though. There are folks who are going to need a lot of help for a very long while coming up. The labor needed just to clear the tree damage will be significant, to say nothing of any other repair/rebuilding.
Lastly, that Josh guy who did the bad “no local news in Iowa” tweet is getting dunked on pretty viciously...and absolutely deserves it.
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