The derecho that surprised Iowa

Derecho tree damage

We are ok!

Many of you have asked how we are doing since the storm - called a derecho - hit our area of Iowa last Monday, Aug. 10. We are fine. The inn is standing strong with no damage. We had some tree damage, with a big sycamore limb falling and narrowly missing the house. It took us several days to clean up the tree branches and debris in the yard. Our fence was broken in several places and the Next Door sign snapped off in the 90 mph wind storm that buffeted us for over an hour. Throughout the colonies there is major tree damage and some damage to buildings. But we personally are in good shape.

Amana Colonies back-up

The Amana Colonies have a biogas digester that produces some of our power. They also have backup generators and underground lines, so the seven villages never lost power. We’ve also had Internet the entire time. While cell phone service was a little spotty for a few hours, it is back strong. We know we are very lucky. We are an oasis in a sea of cities and homesteads that have been without power for multiple days.

Cedar Rapids and surrounding areas

North of here, the city of Cedar Rapids, did not fare so well. They are just now getting power back, 10 days after the storm. This has caused great hardship to people whose properties are damaged. This storm came up with no warning. There was no time to prepare. Without power, food spoils, many people have no way to cook, and hot showers aren’t to be had. Iowa crops did not fare well either. Estimates say the state has lost 1/3 of its entire corn harvest. Driving around here lots of cornfields are flattened. Other fields just look "stripped"; standing, but sickly. That will be devastating for farmers.

We are busy hosting power linemen and other storm-related guests

With no power in the hotels in Iowa City and Cedar Rapids, power, tree, oil, and roofing companies have been looking far and wide for lodging. We have been happy to provide lodging for some of these professionals who are here from out of town to assist the people of Cedar Rapids. Suddenly, after a very slow summer season because of the pandemic, we are full up and busy hosting guests for the last two weeks. We thank these guys who put in long days, leaving at 6:00 am and returning at 10:00 pm, for their service to our community.

We’ve also hosted people who needed a “good night of sleep” – meaning they needed a place to plug in their CPAP machine! Others wanted a hot shower and a TV. So many things we take for granted, until they are suddenly gone.

Iowa comes together at a time like this

It will be a long recovery period after a storm as devastating as this. It’s been heartening to see neighbors coming together to  help each other. There are big organizations bringing assistance to the people in Cedar Rapids and surrounding areas. There are also small organic groups of helpers springing up to bring aid such as food, batteries, tarps, and supplies to those who most need it. Yes, we are Iowa strong – Iowa nice – and Iowa neighbors.

Thanks for caring and we hope to see you here soon.