Derecho passes through Harrison County

Various avenues for help available


Harrison County residents haven't seen much of a break over the past few weeks.

After a tornado traveled outside of Pisgah in late April and dealt damage to farmland and another severe storm passed through the county earlier this week, a system that has been officially declared as a derecho by the National Weather Service took out trees, power lines, grain bins and more late Thursday night into Friday morning.

The NWS defines a derecho as “a widespread, long-lived wind storm that is associated with a band of rapidly moving showers or thunderstorms.” If the wind damage swath extends more than 240 miles and includes wind gusts of at least 58 miles-per-hour or greater along most of its length, then the event may be classified as a derecho, according to the NWS.

Neighboring states in Nebraska and Illinois shared in the derecho damage.

In response to the severe weather that took place on May 21, Gov. Kim Reynolds has issued a disaster emergency proclamation for a number of counties affected, including Harrison County. A total of 27 counties are included in the proclamation, which “allows state resources to be utilized to respond to and recover from the effects of this severe weather and activates the Iowa Individual Assistance Grant Program and Disaster Case Advocacy Program.”

The former provides grants of up to $5,000 for households with incomes up to 200% of the federal poverty level. Grants are available for home or car repairs, replacement of clothing or food and temporary housing expenses. The application and instructions are available on the Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management website, and potential applicants have 45 days from the date of the proclamation to submit a claim.

The Disaster Case Advocacy Program addresses serious needs related to disaster-related hardship, injury or adverse conditions, a release from the governor's office states. Disaster case advocates work with clients to create a disaster recovery plan and provide guidance, advice and referrals to obtain a service or resource. There are no income eligibility requirements for this program; it closes 180 days from the date of the governor's proclamation. For information on the Disaster Case Advocacy Program, contact West Central Community Action or visit    

The proclamation waives fees for the issuance of replacement motor vehicle registration cards, plates and driver licenses. The proclamation also temporarily suspends regulatory provisions of the Iowa Code that pertain to procurement of goods and services, hours of service for disaster repair crews and various requirements for the transportation of loads related to disaster repairs. Additionally, the proclamation waives fees collected by the State Registrar of Vital Statistics or a county recorder’s office associated with the replacement of records lost, destroyed or rendered illegible as a result of the recent severe weather. 

Additionally, the U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Disaster Recovery and Resilience is also offering services in response to the severe storms.

Harrison County homeowners, renters, most private non-profit organizations and businesses of all sizes may qualify for disaster assistance with SBA for physical damages to their property or for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan.

SBA's mission-driven team stands ready to help Iowa's small businesses and residents impacted by severe storms and tornadoes,” Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman said in a statement. “We're committed to providing federal disaster loans swiftly and efficiently, with a customer-centric approach to help businesses and communities recover and rebuild.

Information on loans and assistance can be found by contacting the SBA's Customer Service Center by email at or by phone at 1-800-659-2955.