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City Responds to Storm Damage

City Responds to Storm Damage

January 12, 2021

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On August 10, 2020, a powerful thunderstorm called a derecho — with destructive winds likened to the force of a hurricane — moved through the midwest. The storm caused devastating property damage to homes and businesses in all parts of Cedar Rapids, displaced residents, destroyed the community's tree canopy, and disrupted utilities. The City of Cedar Rapids continues to respond to the community's needs in the wake of the storm.


Bookmark this page, as it will be frequently updated with the latest information.

Information on this Page

Jump to: Garbage/Recycling/Yard Waste Alley Collection | Debris Removal | Frequently Asked Questions | Report a Concern | Burn Ban | City Services | Community Resources | Media Releases | Disaster Declaration | FEMA Assistance | List of Updates

Alley Collection - Garbage, Recycling & Yard Waste

Alley collection of garbage, recycling and yard waste carts is restored for all customers who had alley collection prior to the August 10 derecho.

Debris Removal

Collection of tree and nonorganic storm debris is underway. Crews will return to each street multiple times.

Tree debris removal

Crews are working to clear streets of tree debris following the storm. View an interactive map and learn more about the hauling process.

Learn more

A broken fence is displaced, scattered by strong winds

Nonorganic debris removal

Nonorganic, storm damaged items are being cleared from neighborhood streets. Learn more about the process.

Learn more

Tree debris sits in the right of way awaiting removal following the August 2020 derecho.

Public right-of-way tree inspections, trimming & removal

Crews are inspecting City-owned, public trees in the right-of-way for storm damage. Healthy trees in need of trimming will be addressed. Dangerous trees will be removed.



POSTED: October 30, 2020

The final collection of non-tree-related debris will begin November 15. Areas collected on or after November 15 will have no further pickup of nonorganic (non-tree-related) debris. Collection of organic (tree) materials will continue.

Collection Requirements

  • Nonorganic Debris: Final Pickup Nearly Complete.  Learn more HERE.
  • Tree Debris: Final Pickup Starting Early 2021. Learn more HERE
  • Place debris at the street fronting your home.
  • Keep tree debris separate from piles of nonorganic debris.
  • Keep debris out of the streets and sidewalks.
  • Keep storm drains, inlets, and fire hydrants clear of debris.
  • Crews cannot come onto private property. 

Frequently Asked Questions


Report a Concern

  • Debris Piles: To report missed/skipped piles or intersection concerns, please use this form
  • Street Tree: To report storm damage to a public tree, please use the City’s web reporting tool here
  • Sidewalk: To report damage to a sidewalk, please use this form
 ** Residents do not need to report missed piles multiple times, all submitted requests are automatically added to the pickup list. **

Burn Ban - Rescinded March 1, 2021

The burn ban that was in effect since August 17, 2021 has been rescinded.  Please remember that only recreational fires are allowed in the city limits.  For more information about recreational fire safety, please visit the Fire Department's website.

City Services

Community Resources

  • Homeowner Assistance Patch Program: http://www.ecicog.org/patch.html
    A donation-based program that assists homeowners with repairs or a gap loan for repairs. Supported by the City of Cedar Rapids, Linn County, and local nonprofits.
  • Assistance with housing, damage, debris cleanup | Contact Waypoint at 319-366-7999 
  • Other derecho recovery needs | Contact HACAP (319-739-0056)
  • Crisis Hotline | Contact Foundation 2 to speak to a trained counselor (319-362-2174)
  • Business Resources | View OnlineCourtesy Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance
  • FEMA Individual Assistance | View Details
  • Small Business Administration (SBA) Loans for Business & Residential | View Details // Flyer: englishespañol
  • Linn County | Storm Response
  • Linn County Solid Waste Agency | Debris Disposal
  • Business Storm Loss | Complete Questionnaire
  • Community ResourceIowa Storm Help 319-432-9754 | 4001 1st Ave SE
Private Utility Resources


Disaster Declaration

State of Iowa Disaster Proclamation
Gov. Kim Reynolds has issued a disaster proclamation in response to a severe weather system that moved across Iowa and caused widespread damage August 10. The proclamation activates the Iowa Individual Assistance Grant Program for qualifying residents, along with the Disaster Case Management Program for residents in Audubon, Benton, Boone, Dallas, Cedar, Clarke, Clinton, Greene, Grundy, Hardin, Iowa, Jackson, Jasper, Johnson, Jones, Linn, Madison, Marshall, Muscatine, Polk, Poweshiek, Scott, Story, Tama, and Washington counties. Learn more.

Presidential Disaster Declaration
On August 17, President Trump declared a major disaster exists in the State of Iowa and ordered Federal assistance to supplement State and local recovery efforts in the areas affected by severe storms on August 10. Federal funding is available to State and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by the severe storm in the counties of Benton, Boone, Cedar, Clinton, Dallas, Jasper, Johnson, Jones, Linn, Marshall, Muscatine, Polk, Poweshiek, Scott, Story, and Tama. Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide.

Individual Assistance

Individual FEMA Assistance
Residents of Linn County can now apply for the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) Individual Assistance Program, which provides disaster-affected homeowners, renters, and businesses with programs and services to maximize recovery, including assistance with housing, personal property replacement, medical expenses, and legal services.

Assistance can come in the form of grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.

Individuals and business owners who sustained losses in the designated area (Linn County) can begin applying for assistance in the following ways:

  • Go online to DisasterAssistance.gov.
  • Download the FEMA Mobile App for smartphones.
  • Call 800-621-3362 (TTY: 800-462-7585 // ViRS: 800-621-3362) between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. CT, seven days a week. Multilingual operators are available.

Documents also may be submitted in any of the following ways:

  • Mail to: FEMA’s Individuals and Households Program, National Processing Service Center, P.O. Box 10055, Hyattsville MD 20782-7055.
  • Or fax to 800-827-8112.
  • Or submit them via a FEMA online account. To set up an online account, visit DisasterAssistance.gov, click on “Check Status” and follow the directions.

Linn County residents are no longer eligible to apply for the State Individual Assistance Program and should apply for the FEMA Individual Assistance Program.

Small Business Administration (SBA) Loans for Business and Residential
Low-interest federal disaster loans are now available to Iowa businesses and residents as a result of President Trump’s major disaster declaration. Disaster loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate. Homeowners and renters are eligible for up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property.

All Updates

  • Garbage, Recycling & Yard Waste Collection (12/16/20)
    Alley collection has been restored for all customers. Learn more.

  • Arborists Begin to Assess and Mark Right-of-Way Trees (9/15/20)
    Contracted certified arborists have begun to assess and mark public right-of-way trees for necessary trimming and removal based on damage that occurred as a result of the derecho. Learn more.

  • Private Tree Debris Update (9/13/20)
    A reminder that tree debris shall NOT be placed on park or trail property. Parks staff is working diligently to clear parks of debris so they may be reopened for the public. Debris dumped in parks slows the process and makes parks less safe for patrons.

    Additionally, residents are not able to report private trees that need to be removed to the City. Any concerns about private trees must be handled privately. A certified arborist can be hired to determine and document risk. Information on finding a certified arborist is available here. Report concerns with PUBLIC right-of-way trees here.

  • Burn Ban Remains in Effect Until Further Notice (9/11/20)
    Although the recent rainfall has saturated tree debris and vegetation in the short term, our region is still abnormally dry considering soil moisture conditions. Debris piles will likely dry out quickly with forecasted warm and dry conditions over the next week. The Fire Department typically sees the highest number of grass and brush fires in August and September because of trees losing their leaves and other vegetation going dormant. Fall weather is also accompanied by windy conditions that can increase the danger of rapidly spreading grass and brush fires.  The Fire Department is planning to keep the burn ban in effect until at least the second pass of organic debris removal so that the majority of the organic and drying debris is removed from neighborhoods, which will decrease the fire hazard.

  • Thank You! (9/11/20)
    We are extremely appreciative of assistance we received from many, including other government agencies and cities after the Derecho on August 10. Read more.

  • Request: Move Damaged Vehicles Parked Along Roadway (9/3/20)
    Many damaged vehicles parked alongside the road have not been moved since the August 10 Derecho. Vehicles that have not been moved can impede curbside debris collection. The Police Department is recommending that vehicle owners photograph damage to their vehicles, contact their insurance companies to advise them that the vehicle must be moved, then move the vehicle or have it towed. Vehicles parked more than 48 hours upon any street or in the area between the sidewalk and the curb or roadway is considered a street storage. These vehicles can be ticketed and/or towed to a storage place.

  • Public Tree Debris Drop-off Site Closure (9/3/20)
    The public tree debris drop-off site located at 1st Street NW and I Avenue has closed. Residents can leave tree debris curbside for free pick-up by the City, or take debris to the Linn County Solid Waste Agency at cost. Visit the Agency's website for locations, hours of operation, and other details.

  • Reduce Fire Risk with Tree Debris Piles (9/2/20)
    The Fire Department, in consultation with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and experts in wildland-urban interface, provide recommendations for limiting fire risk related to drying tree debris. Learn more.

  • FEMA Opens a Disaster Recovery Center (9/1/20)
    A Disaster Recovery Center will open in Linn County on Wednesday, September 2, to give survivors from the August 10 severe storm options to submit documents for their disaster assistance application. Learn more.

  • Neighborhood Resource Center Sites Closed (8/31/20)

    Neighborhood Resource Centers located at Metro High School, St. Paul’s Methodist Church, Ladd Library, Taylor Elementary School, and the Northwest Recreation Center have been closed. The sites were set up by the City of Cedar Rapids to provide emergency storm relief following the derecho. They provided meals, supplies, information, and access to mental health and legal services for two weeks following the storm. DHS will assist with DSNAP benefits for qualified individuals at the Ladd Library parking lot and US Cellular Center through Sunday, September 6 from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

  • Free WiFi Locations  (8/31/20)
    Residents experiencing internet outages can access free WiFi now available at several locations throughout the Cedar Rapids metro area. See locations.

  • City of Cedar Rapids Business Storm Loss Questionnaire (8/27/20)
    The City’s Economic Development Division would like to hear the story about what types of storm losses and challenges had an impact on local business establishment or operation. The questionnaire is designed to help City staff identify needs in the post-disaster recovery process. Complete Questionnaire.

  • Veterans Memorial Coliseum Shelter Dates (8/27/20)
    The American Red Cross will close its shelter at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum (50 2nd Avenue Bridge) on Saturday, August 29 at 10 a.m. The Red Cross has been working with many community partners to help all remaining residents transition out of the shelter.

  • Recreational Vehicles Permitted to Serve as Temporary Housing (8/27/20)
    As the community continues to rebuild following the storm event on August 10, the City of Cedar Rapids has expanded the in-town use of recreational vehicles (RVs) to be used as a temporary housing unit for those displaced or completing home repairs. Learn more.

  • City Council Presentation by Incident Commander/Fire Chief Greg Smith (8/25/20)
    An update of current status, a brief overview of the FEMA National Incident Management System process, followed by a review of the City’s response to the disaster.  Download the presentation.

  • Citywide Curfew Ends (8/24/20)
    The curfew is being rescinded effectively immediately. Electrical power has been restored to nearly all customers in Cedar Rapids and the curfew is no longer needed. We continue to ask residents to be vigilant during the evening and overnight hours when it is more difficult to see debris on sidewalks or roadways.

  • Burn Ban Remains in Effect (8/24/20)

    The burn ban will remain in effect indefinitely. With the elevated temperatures and tree debris drying out very quickly, there is an enhanced fire risk in our community.  Learn more.

  • Small Business Administration (SBA) Loans for Business and Residential (8/24/20)
    Low-interest federal disaster loans are now available to Iowa businesses and residents as a result of the Presidential Disaster Declaration. Learn more // Flyer: english | español

  • FEMA Individual Assistance (8/22/20)
    Residents of Linn County can now apply for the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) Individual Assistance Program, which provides disaster-affected homeowners, renters, and businesses with programs and services to maximize recovery, including assistance with housing, personal property replacement, medical expenses, and legal services. Learn more.

  • Donate to Relief Efforts (8/21/20)
    Funds have been established through area nonprofit groups to provide disaster relief. Donate online today: United Way | Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation

  • Home Permit Resources (8/20/20)
    Residents can find information on the permit process and a list of where to find reputable contractors on the City's website here. Download fact sheet: englishespañol | français | kirundi | kiswahili

  • Tree Emergency FAQ (8/20/20)
    A City tree emergency has been declared. Answers to your frequently asked questions about tree damage and debris removal are available here.

  • Tree Debris Removal Map (8/19/20)
    A map of tree debris removal progress will be updated daily. The map will give residents a general idea of the status of their neighborhood. Find the map here.

  • Voluntary Odd/Even Parking Rule (8/19/20)
    We're encouraging residents to assist in debris cleanup by voluntarily following the odd/even parking rule. Help give our crews room! On EVEN number calendar days, park on the side of the street with EVEN-numbered homes. On ODD number days, park on the side with ODD-numbered homes. This applies only to residential areas where alternate side parking would not conflict with normal parking restrictions.

  • Guidance for Tree Examinations (8/19/20)
    Due to the severity of the storm and out of a concern for safety, the City's Forestry division is encouraging residents to pay special attention to their trees and ensure there are no structural concerns. Find updated guidance here.

  • Disaster Declarations (8/18/20)
    State and Presidential Disaster Declarations have been issued, with varying levels of assistance available. Learn more.

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Garbage, Recycling, and Yard Waste - Alley Collection

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