Environment & Weather
Branstad issues disaster proclamation for Pottawattamie County PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Office of the Governor of the State of Iowa   
Wednesday, 04 June 2014 09:21
(DES MOINES) – Gov. Terry E. Branstad this evening issued a proclamation of disaster emergency for one county in response to today’s storms.
The Governor’s proclamation, for Pottawattamie County, allows state resources to be utilized to respond to and recover from the effects of the storms.
As of 8:30 p.m., no other Iowa counties have requested state assistance. The Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management and the Governor’s Office continue to closely monitor the situation.

FEMA Urges Preparedness ahead of Severe Weather PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by FEMA News Desk   
Tuesday, 03 June 2014 13:00
Residents Encouraged to Monitor Conditions and Follow Direction of Local Officials

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)—through its regional offices in Atlanta, Chicago, Kansas City and Denton (Texas)—is monitoring the possibility of tornadoes and large hail on Tuesday across parts of the Central Plains and Mid-Mississippi Valley. Residents in potentially affected areas should take the time now to prepare for severe weather and to monitor conditions via NOAA Weather Radio and local media.

FEMA is in close contact with the National Weather Service, which is forecasting the development of severe thunderstorms across the Great Plains into the Ohio Valley and central Appalachians Tuesday into Wednesday. The storms may bring the potential for significant severe weather events. Comprehensive forecasts for specific areas are available at www.weather.gov.

When natural disasters like severe weather and tornadoes strike, immediate aid often comes from neighbors, family, friends and co-workers. First responders—such as local emergency and public works personnel, volunteers, humanitarian organizations and numerous private interest groups—provide rapid emergency assistance to protect the public's health and safety and to meet immediate human needs.

Severe Weather and Tornado Safety Tips

• Maintain an emergency supply kit both at home and in the car to help prepare for power outages or impassable roads. Visit www.ready.gov or www.listo.gov to learn more about how to be better prepared and how to protect your family during emergencies. Find severe weather and tornado preparedness tips at www.ready.gov/severe-weather.

• Follow the instructions of state and local officials, and listen to local radio or TV station for updated disaster response and sheltering information. Listen to a NOAA Weather Radio and local news to monitor for severe weather updates and warnings. The National Weather Service is the official source for tornado watches and warnings.

• Many mobile devices are capable of receiving free Wireless Emergency Alerts, which are sent by public safety officials such as the National Weather Service about imminent threats like severe weather. They look like a text message and show the type and time of the alert, any action you should take and the agency issuing the alert.

• Become familiar with the terms used to identify severe weather. Discuss with your family what to do if a watch or warning is issued.

Terms Used to Describe Tornado and Other Severe Weather Hazards

• For flooding:

• A Flood Watch is issued when conditions are favorable for flooding.

• A Flood Warning is issued when flooding is imminent or occurring.

• A Flash Flood Watch is issued when conditions are favorable for flash flooding.

• A Flash Flood Warning is issued when flash flooding is imminent or occurring.

• A Flash Flood Emergency is issued when severe threat to human life and catastrophic damage from a flash flood is imminent or ongoing.

• For a severe thunderstorm:

• A Severe Thunderstorm Watch is issued when severe thunderstorms are possible in and near the watch area.

• A Severe Thunderstorm Warning is issued when severe thunderstorms are occurring or imminent in the warning area.

• For a tornado:

• A Tornado Watch is issued when severe thunderstorms and tornadoes are possible in and near the watch area. It does not mean that they will occur. It only means they are possible.

• A Tornado Warning means a tornado is imminent, take shelter immediately.

• A Tornado Emergency is issued when severe threat to human life and catastrophic damage is imminent or ongoing, and reliable sources confirm a tornado.


Follow FEMA online at www.fema.gov/blog, www.twitter.com/fema, www.facebook.com/fema and www.youtube.com/fema.  Also, follow Administrator Craig Fugate's activities at www.twitter.com/craigatfema.

The social media links provided are for reference only. FEMA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies or applications.

FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.

Harkin, Senate Leader in Push for Clean, Renewable Fuels; Welcomes Climate Change Proposal PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Sen. Tom Harkin   
Monday, 02 June 2014 15:41

‘Climate change is real and this proposal is a major action to address it’

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) today issued the following statement on the proposed rule released today by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  The proposal aims to reduce carbon pollution from existing power plants by 30 percent by 2030.  The draft rule will now will now go through an extensive public comment period and stakeholder feedback process before being finalized.

Harkin was an original cosponsor of the bipartisan Bingaman-Specter climate bill introduced in the Senate in 2007 and has been a long-time leader in the move toward clean, renewable fuels. He authored the first-ever energy title in the 2002 farm bill to promote the production and use of biofuels and biobased products,  and to support energy efficiency and renewable energy projects for farmers and rural small businesses.  The 2008 farm bill extended these energy programs, including the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) that has become hugely popular with farmers.   For background on Harkin’s renewable energy work, click here.

“Today’s announcement is a major step forward and I applaud the President and the EPA for this action.  Climate change is real, as we have seen by increased frequency of severe weather, in extended draughts and heat waves, in increases in heavy precipitation, and in flooding in Iowa and throughout the Midwest.  Today’s proposed rule will deliver a significant reduction in carbon pollution from our largest single source, and thus it represents a major action to address climate change.

“The last time major Clean Air Act regulations on air pollution took effect on the power sector in the 1990’s to limit emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, and carbon monoxide; we were told that compliance would be an economic disaster.  Yet, the regulation had the opposite effect.  Environmental firms and small businesses generated $282 billion in new revenue and $40 billion in exports and supported 1.6 million new jobs.  There was no significant impact on electricity prices.  We are hopeful of the same, positive outcome from today’s announcement.

“We also know that renewables are rapidly expanding as effective and economic power supplies.  In Iowa, we get more than 25 percent of our electrical power from carbon pollution-free wind.  Moreover, our power companies have already begun to shut down some of the older, less efficient coal-burning power plants.

“What the Obama Administration is proposing is bold action.  It will take time to implement.  But I have no doubt that it is in the best interest of our climate and our country’s future.”


News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Susan Guy   
Monday, 02 June 2014 10:52
Iowa IPL to Announce Statewide Canvass to Gather Signatures in Support of new EPA Rules
DES MOINES, Iowa – Monday, Iowa Interfaith Power & Light (IIPL) and Iowa climate experts will hold a statewide conference call with Iowa reporters to discuss a newly announced proposal to limit carbon pollution from power plants, a major driver of climate change, and to outline the positive impacts of that decision, as well as accompanying energy efficiency and clean energy investments, for Iowans.

Speakers on the call will also unveil plans to launch a statewide canvass to gather signatures from Iowans in support of the new carbon rules.  The canvasses will take place on Sunday, June 8th – the six-year anniversary of the start of the historic 2008 Iowa floods that devastated Cedar Rapids, Iowa City and communities across the state.

Conference call participants include:
  • Rev. Susan Guy: Rev. Susan Guy has served as the Executive Director at Iowa IPL since 2010.  She is ordained in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) with an M. Div. from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, a B.A. from Bethany College in Bethany, West Virginia.  Prior to Iowa IPL, Susan served as a pastor in both Disciples of Christ and United Methodist congregations, focusing on social justice ministries.  She also has experience managing non-profit organizations, and served as the first Heartland Field Organizer for the ONE Campaign on global poverty.
  • Dr. Yogesh Shah:  Dr. Yogesh Shah is the Associate Dean for Global Health at Des Moines University, a position created in 2006 to establish global health experiences that DMU students increasingly seek.  Dr. Shah has been instrumental in establishing the City of Des Moines as a member of the World Health Organization’s network of age-friendly cities.  He also led the creation of the Heartland Global Health Consortium, and the creation of Heartland Climate Health Consortium, a collaborative of Iowa educational institutions to promote the effect of climate change on nutrition and human health.
  • Christopher J. Anderson, PhD:  Christopher J. Anderson is a climate risk analyst.  He is Assistant Director of the Iowa State University Climate Science Initiative, a research program that provides authoritative, scientific information for short-term and long-term climate-informed decision-making.  He holds doctoral and master degrees in agricultural meteorology from Iowa State University.  Mr. Anderson’s research examines linkages between climate variability, climate change, and water management.  He has coauthored recent reports for the Western Utility Climate Alliance and US EPA containing recommendations on investments in climate modeling that would yield improvements in infrastructure planning for water utilities in major metropolitan areas (Options for Improving Climate Modeling to Assist Water Utility Planning for Climate Change) and flood mitigation in the Midwest United States (Iowa Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience Report).  Currently, he is providing leadership to the Federal Highways Climate Resilience Pilot in Iowa in collaboration with Iowa DOT and University of Iowa IIHR.

News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Brandy Walvaert   
Tuesday, 27 May 2014 14:45

Suggest a cleanup site—and vote for your favorite T-shirt color!

QUAD-CITIES—The date has been set and planning is underway for Xstream Cleanup, the Quad-Cities’ annual, volunteer-based cleanup of area waterways.

The cleanup will be held from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 9, 2014. Online registration will open by July 1 at www.xstreamcleanup.org.

Again this year, organizers are looking for new cleanup sites and encourage members of the community to make suggestions. If a site is dirty, litter-ridden or host to illegal dumping, organizers want to hear about it. To make a suggestion, send an e-mail to  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or call (563) 468-4218.

“Xstream Cleanup gives people an opportunity to get their hands dirty and show their commitment to the community. Each year hundreds of volunteers pick up, drag out, and haul away unwanted trash and debris from our waterways. This event proves that as a community, we’re willing to sweat together to protect and improve water quality where we live,” says Curtis Lundy, event chair.  

Community members also are invited to visit the Xstream Cleanup Facebook page to vote for their favorite color for this year’s volunteer T-shirts. Color options are Chestnut (light brown), Gravel (light gray), or Yellow Haze (light yellow). One vote per person will be counted. The deadline to vote is 5 p.m. Friday, May 30.  

Xstream Cleanup began in 2004 as a small-scale cleanup of Duck Creek. Over the years, the event has grown to engage over 1,000 volunteers cleaning up about 40 sites around the Quad-Cities each year. The cleanup is now in its eleventh year. 


For more information about Xstream Cleanup, visit www.xstreamcleanup.org. “Like” Xstream Cleanup on Facebook for updates as the event approaches.


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