Trying to stay dry

Water, approaching winter weigh on tornado-impacted business owners, residents

T-R PHOTO BY ADAM SODDERS - All over the tornado-impacted area of Marshalltown, crews are working to seal up roofs to keep out rain and the cold of the approaching winter. Agencies like the Region 6 Housing Trust Fund and Mid-Iowa Community Action (MICA) have been working to help some get needed repairs to their roofs.

The high winds and flying debris only lasted a matter of minutes the afternoon of July 19, but the damage that tornado caused has proven difficult in many ways.

Whether insured, underinsured or uninsured, many Marshalltown tornado victims are still without a sealed roof. With fall coming this weekend and winter close behind, those people are trying to find solutions fast.

“My situation right now is I don’t have a permanent roof installed yet,” said Willard’s Furs and Fashions owner Jonathan Hull. He said recent rains have caused water to seep into his building, and he said other buildings on Main Street are having similar issues.

Hull also said he is worried about winter weather in a matter of months.

“If I don’t have a roof by that time, it’s not going to be good,” he said.

Servicemaster of Rice Project Manager Patrick Pollard said water damage is a concern for many business owners and residents in the affected area.

“If you don’t dry it out properly right away … it could result in secondary damage,” he said. Pollard said complications can include building materials rotting, as well as mold and microbial threats.

He said it should be a priority to have a water-damaged area properly dried and to have the roof repaired as soon as possible to stop recurring leaks. Pollard also said it doesn’t take a lot of rain or wind to cause leaks to reoccur on a building that hasn’t been fully repaired.

“It could be simply from a medium rain event,” he said.

Region 6 Housing Trust Fund officials are also trying to help people fix their roofs to keep out water and incoming cold weather.

“The most important thing for us to address right now is to address the roofing situation,” said Region 6 Housing Specialist Mark Newberg. “Water damage creates an unsafe environment, especially for kids and the elderly.”

He said Region 6 has partnered with Mid-Iowa Community Action (MICA) to deliver help with roof repairs as quickly as possible. At this time, he said applicants wanting to tap into the Region 6 fund do not have to be insured and non-English speakers can be accommodated.

While he said winter weather is a concern for many without a fully-sealed home, roof work can continue into the winter on all but the coldest days.

“We don’t anticipate stopping unless it really gets below 10 degrees, we would probably stop from that point forward and then pick it back up,” Newberg said. He said roofing work will continue for approved applicants “if we still have funds available and there are still projects coming at us.”

Clarissa Thompson of MICA also said that agency’s case workers are hearing a lot of concern from affected residents about winter weather. She said MICA recently had a deadline for giving state disaster funding to qualified applicants extended to Oct. 29.

Colder weather is predicted to hit central Iowa Friday and Saturday, with possible thunderstorms Monday, according to the National Weather Service. Earlier this week, an estimated 1.6 inches of rain fell in Marshalltown.

To apply for Region 6 funding for roof repairs, visit www.region6planning.org, call 641-752-0717 or stop by the office at 903 E. Main St. To apply for state disaster funds through MICA, visit https://micaonline.org, call 641-485-3596 or go to the agency’s response center at Trinity Lutheran Church, 1011 S. Third Ave.

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Contact Adam Sodders at

(641) 753-6611 or asodders@timesrepublican.com