Glass Shops Stand By to Repair Tornado Damage
Many of the houses that are still standing in Parkersburg, Iowa,
stand with glassless windows. Those are the lucky ones. More than
200 homes and business were destroyed by a severe tornado that struck
the area on May 25. Six people died as a result of the Iowa tornado.
Wyatt Ziesman, a partner in Z&Z Glass in Iowa Falls, Iowa,
and an emergency medical technician with the local volunteer fire
department, has had an up-close look at the damage to the Parkersburg
area. He says that it's even worse than has been reported.
"I've been over there for a couple of days working, but that's
the only thing I've really done," says Ziesman. "I've
been helping the victims."
Ziesman's job has only just began as he, along with the residents
of Iowa's Butler, Black Hawk, Buchanan and Delaware counties, slowly
shift attention from the search for survivors to the process of
repairing-and in many cases, rebuilding-property.
"A lot of the houses are just completely gone," says
Matt Nolting, president of Allen Glass Co. in Waterloo, Iowa. "You
can't even get into the town to assess the damage so I don't really
even know the extent of the damage."
Ziesman has seen some indication of the repair work to come. "I'd
say probably 90 percent of the area that I've been in there isn't
any glass work that's going to be done," he says. "There
isn't anything to put glass in. But off the edge of the tornado
path, there are some cars that do have damage, and the houses that
are still standing but the windows are gone or the businesses' windows
are gone or the car's. So I'm sure we will be getting affected by
Today the phone has just started ringing for shops outside of the
Laurie, the office manager for Iowa Falls Glass, less than 30 miles
outside of Parkersburg, says that while it's still too early for
much work to start, a few calls have come in looking for commercial
and auto glass repairs.
"There's been just a couple calls on structure stills standing,"
"I don't think they're to that point yet," Nolting says
of the repair work he expects soon to come. "I think it's still
just clearing debris right now."
A statement issued today by the National Weather Service called
the EF5 tornado "an extraordinarily rare event."
According to the Service, "Since 1950 ...there have been over
50,000 tornadoes reported in the United States. This number is certainly
underestimated given the under-reporting of events from 1950 through
the mid 1990's. During this time ...a total of 52 EF5s [the highest
rating on the Enhanced Fujita scale] have occurred, including the
Parkersburg tornado. In other words ... EF5s make up a total of
0.001 percent of all tornadoes. This is only the second EF5 since
2000 and the 15th since 1980 in the United States.
HERE to read more about the tornado's impact on Iowa.
HERE to read about damage caused by the tornado that struck
Hugo, Minn., on May 25.
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