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Iowa Guard members clear debris after derecho storm

Cedar Rapids clean up

Staff Sgt. Jerad Keegan, 185th Air Refueling Wing Civil Engineering Squadron, Iowa Air National Guard uses a chainsaw to clear away downed trees in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on August 18, 2020. Extremely high winds uprooted trees, caused wide spread structural damage and power outages throughout Southeast Iowa. U.S. Air National Guard photo Senior Master Sgt. Vincent De Groot

downed power lines

Members of the 185th Air Refueling Wing Civil Engineering Squadron, Iowa Air National Guard remove fallen trees near downed power lines in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on August 18, 2020. High winds uprooted trees, caused wide spread structural damage and power outages throughout Southeast Iowa. U.S. Air National Guard photo Senior Master Sgt. Vincent De Groot

moving trees

Members of the 185th Air Refueling Wing Civil Engineering Squadron, Iowa Air National Guard move branches in order to untangle downed power lines in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on August 18, 2020. High winds uprooted trees, caused wide spread structural damage and power outages throughout Southeast Iowa. U.S. Air National Guard photo Senior Master Sgt. Vincent De Groot

Iowa Flag

An Iowa flag is hanging outside a home in Cedar Rapids, Iowa surrounded by downed trees on August 18, 2020. Iowa guard members are working to clear debris in Cedar Rapids this week where high winds uprooted trees, caused wide spread structural damage and power outages. U.S. Air National Guard photo Senior Master Sgt. Vincent De Groot

moving branches

Airman 1st Class Owen Rife, 185th Air Refueling Wing Civil Engineering Squadron, Iowa Air National Guard moves branches in order to untangle downed power lines in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on August 18, 2020. High winds uprooted trees, caused wide spread structural damage and power outages throughout Southeast Iowa. U.S. Air National Guard photo Senior Master Sgt. Vincent De Groot

Skid steer

Members of the 185th Air Refueling Wing Civil Engineering Squadron, Iowa Air National Guard uses a skid loader to remove downed trees in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on August 18, 2020. High winds uprooted trees, caused wide spread structural damage and power outages throughout Southeast Iowa. U.S. Air National Guard photo Senior Master Sgt. Vincent De Groot

Skid steer

Members of the Iowa National Guard in eastern Iowa this week assisting with cleanup operations following a severe wind storm in order to make way for utility companies to reconnect power. Wide spread power outages were due to the weather phenomena “Derecho” that is characterized by the large geographical area of damage caused by extremely high winds that uprooted trees and caused wide spread structural damage. U.S. Air National Guard photo Senior Master Sgt. Vincent De Groot

Chain saw

Staff Sgt. Jerad Keegan, 185th Air Refueling Wing Civil Engineering Squadron, Iowa Air National Guard uses a chainsaw to clear away downed trees in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on August 18, 2020. Extremely high winds uprooted trees, caused wide spread structural damage and power outages throughout Southeast Iowa. U.S. Air National Guard photo Senior Master Sgt. Vincent De Groot

Clearing trees

Members of the Iowa National Guard in eastern Iowa this week assisting with cleanup operations following a severe wind storm in order to make way for utility companies to reconnect power. Wide spread power outages were due to the weather phenomena “Derecho” that is characterized by the large geographical area of damage caused by extremely high winds that uprooted trees and caused wide spread structural damage. U.S. Air National Guard photo Senior Master Sgt. Vincent De Groot

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Iowa National Guard Airmen and Soldiers are in eastern Iowa this week assisting with cleanup operations following a severe wind storm that caused wide spread damage in the Hawkeye State. Airmen from the 185th Air Refueling Wing Civil Engineering Squadron based in Sioux City, Iowa joined Soldiers from the Army National Guard’s 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team and the 734th Regional Support Group in Cedar Rapids where they are cleaning up downed trees in order to make way for utility companies to reconnect power. The 50 member team in Cedar Rapids is part of a larger group of 200 Iowa National Guard members who are working with local municipalities and power companies clearing out debris. After Guard members clear streets civilian agencies can reconnect power to the community where tens of thousands of customers have been without power since last week. Wide spread power outages were due to the weather phenomena referred to as a Derecho that is characterized by the large geographical area of damage caused by extremely high winds. The hurricane force winds flattened crops in rural areas, uprooted trees and caused wide spread structural damage to homes and business in easter Iowa. Air Guard members are equipped with recently acquired debris clean up packages that include items like chain saws and skid loaders as part of the Civil Engineer domestic response kits. The kits combined with Army heavy vehicles allow cleanup teams to quickly clear downed trees. Lower Thirds: Senior Master Sgt. David Twohig 185th ARW Civil Engineer

Cedar Rapids --

Iowa National Guard Airmen and Soldiers are assisting with cleanup operations in eastern Iowa this week following a severe windstorm that caused widespread damage.

Airmen from the Iowa Air Guard’s 185th Air Refueling Wing Civil Engineering Squadron based in Sioux City joined Army National Guard Soldiers in Cedar Rapids where they are clearing downed trees so utility companies can reconnect power.

Senior Master Sgt. Dave Twohig, 185th ARW, is with a team of Airmen and Soldiers in Cedar Rapids working to restore power.

“I’ve seen storm damage before, but I have never seen it for miles and miles, like this,” said Twohig.

As Guard members clear streets in Cedar Rapids, Twohig said civilian agencies are following behind to reconnect power to tens of thousands of customers.

“There is debris strewn all over the place. This is a really tough situation for the people here,” Twohig added.

The destruction is due to the weather phenomena referred to as a derecho, which is characterized by a large geographical area of damage caused by extremely high winds. The hurricane-force winds flattened crops throughout southeast Iowa and uprooted trees, causing structural damage to homes and businesses.

Twohig said as a long-time member of the Air Guard, he is happy to help fellow Iowans.

“This is what it is all about to us,” Twohig said. “Everywhere we go, people are waving and honking. It’s been humbling.”

Air Guard members are equipped with chain saws and skid loaders. Twohig said the resources, combined with Army heavy vehicles, have allowed cleanup teams to move quickly through affected neighborhoods.