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Mayor institutes a burn ban until August 28

Mayor institutes a burn ban until August 28

In a letter sent out via email to all residents, Mayor Mike Bawden implemented a ban on outdoor burning of materials until August 28, 2020.

In that letter, Mayor Bawden implemented a burn ban in the City of Riverdale until power can be restored to the City and most of the clean-up work has been completed. The City will be picking up debris from Monday’s storm this weekend and possibly next. Additionally, the City has placed dumpsters in three locations for residents to use to dispose of tree limbs, leaves and other organic matter as a result of the storm.

Burn Ban Specifics

The Mayor explained that the ban has been enacted at the request of several citizens:

At the request of several citizens, I am ordering a ban on burning leaves, wood and other materials outside until all the power is restored to the City and most of the clean-up work is done. We have several residents who are senior citizens and others with breathing conditions who have to leave their windows open in order to get air circulating in their house. Smoke from a fire in the
neighborhood makes it nearly impossible for them to breath comfortably.

This burn ban effectively suspends the open burning of “Disaster Rubbish” which is allowed under Chapter 105.5 (1) and the burning of “Landscape Waste” which is allowed under Chapter 105.5 (3) of the City’s code of ordinances.

Please be respectful of your neighbors and hold off burning until the burn ban is lifted at the end of the month.

Also, please note that the City’s ordinances about burning remain in effect at this time. That means the following acts are prohibited even after the burn ban is lifted:
• No burning in city streets, curbs or gutters or in alleys (Ch. 135.08)
• No burning of combustible materials except through a chimney or stack (Ch. 105.05)
• No burning of waste gases.
• Burn barrels are prohibited
• The burning of garbage is prohibited (Ch. 105.12)

If you have a question or see someone burning anything in their yard or driveway between now and August 28, please notify City Hall (563-355 2511).

How to respond to warnings from the National Weather Service

How to respond to warnings from the National Weather Service

Riverdale Council Member Anthony Heddlesten offers some great advice on what to do if you receive a warning from the NWS or hear the storm sirens go off. (Taken from Facebook)

Post-derecho I’ve seen several Facebook friends post about NWS warnings and sirens and their lack of understanding or maybe better understanding post disaster. I’ve been getting daily NWS briefings from 3 offices for about a decade now. I respond to disasters, and know some things, but I’m not a perfect fount of knowledge either – reach out to your local city, EMA, and NWS professionals for more (and probably better) ideas!

Here are some things I think you should know:

1) there’s a cool color coded warning system for severe thunderstorms (light green, green, yellow, orange, red, pink) after looking at these reports and responding to disasters for a decade, I have developed the following risk stance towards these colors (meh, better bring an umbrella, better know where a sturdy shelter is at all times, better be within walking distance of a sturdy shelter at all times, I’m not leaving the house today, I’m not leaving the basement today; respectively)

2) on literally every day that’s been orange, red, or pink in 10 years, a tornado has hit within that area listed. Often times I’m not effected, but someone is catastrophically impacted. Every. Single. Time. In. Ten. Years.

3) sirens blow for things that will ruin your month. Not your afternoon, not your event that you’re at, your month. Sirens are for catastrophic damages somewhere within earshot of you. They are meant to get you to a sturdy shelter ASAP.

4) you need to learn how to read NWS text write ups for storms – there is a ton of fast moving info that is very succinct and is constantly being field verified. Be particularly mindful for “spotter indicated” vs “radar indicated”. There is a ton more data that they provide than what a weather app has. Why doesn’t NWS have a weather app?! I’m completely baffled.

5) GOES-R came out a couple years ago and made everything better and smarter, but anyone who’s studied hydraulics of fluids (air is a fluid) knows how hard it is to categorize and define movement of fluids in a three dimensional system as robust and intricate as our atmosphere. Learn about GOES and what it does and ask that it continues to be funded. That’s not a guarantee.

6) find more ways to get notified – storm sirens aren’t meant to be heard in your home – NOAA weather radios are. Set your Facebook/social media feed to bring your local NWS and EMA office Messages front and center! See if your county has other sorts of emergency notification system like Nixle or reverse 911 and SIGN UP NOW. it will text you things you need to know. Go to iNWS and sign up for automated alerts for areas that are important to you – you literally can draw a polygon on a GIS server and select which watches and warnings you want to receive. It’s super easy.

These are simple things you can do to be safe(r) during an emergency situation. Good luck!

Storm Update: The Clean-up Continues!

Storm Update: The Clean-up Continues!

Neighbors, contractors and City staff are working together to help Riverdale recover following Monday’s fierce storm that saw winds in excess of 90 mph bring down trees and snap power poles, leaving most residents and businesses in the city without power and in some cases, phone and Internet service.

First Responders respond first

Special thanks to Riverdale’s maintenance man, George Miller and seven other members of the Riverdale Fire Department who worked into the night on Monday to make roads passable in the City. They worked on South Bellingham, Elmhurst Lane, South Kensington and at the site of a massive limb completely blocking Circle Drive.

What to do with all the tree limbs and debris?

Clearing the streets of debris was the first priority for the City who ordered the delivery of three dumpsters for resident use on Tuesday. Those dumpsters, located at Volunteer Square Park (in the parking lot), Peggy’s Park (next to the playground) and Fieldcrest Road (at the dead end) are there to collect yard and tree debris only, not for garbage. The dumpsters will be replaced with empty dumpsters on Friday or Saturday and remain through next week and are scheduled for pick-up on August 26.

On Wednesday, following emergency update phone calls between City Administrator Kent Royster, members of the City Council and Mayor, it was decided to engage a private contractor to pick up debris from resident yards this weekend (depending on rainfall on Saturday, pickup may not start until Sunday). The contractor, TJ Schwartz Excavating, will be going from neighborhood to neighborhood with a large dump truck to collect debris from their curbside locations.

Debris should be cut into 5-foot sections so they can be composted at the Scott County Compost Facility. All disposal fees are being waived, so making sure our material can be processed is essential. To make pick-up go as efficiently as possible, we are asking residents to stack the debris as neatly as possible.

Other yard waste can be put in paper bags and left at the curb for Monday pick-up by Republic Services.

Depending on an assessment of the amount of damage in the community on Monday, the City may engage the contractor to come back for another pick-up in the community the weekend of August 22. Please check this website and the Riverdale Resident’s Page on Facebook for further updates.

Cleaning Up the City’s Parks

There was some extensive limb loss in Volunteer Square Park and major tree damage in VanGundy Park. Quercus, the City’s landscape contractor sent an emergency crew to help clean up and care for/remove damaged trees. The Mayor and City Administrator will discuss the extent of the damage with Quercus next week and start formulating a plan to deal with the lost trees for Council review in September.

The playgrounds at Peggy’s Park and Bicentennial Park both appear to be in fairly good shape.

Additional Disaster Relief

City Hall has limited power (thanks to the emergency generator) and while the main office is not air conditioned while operating on emergency power, Council Chambers is. As a result, the City will keep Council Chambers open to the public from 8am – 5pm every week day until power is restored to the City. While in the City’s Council Chambers, residents can re-charge their electronic devices, use the public-access wi-fi and escape the heat. 

Occupancy is limited to seven people at a time and those who use the room will be asked to socially distance from one another. 

If you have any questions, please call Administrator Royster at 563-355-2511.

Also, for residents who have lost food as a result of the power being shut-off, there is some government assistance available through the Iowa Individual Assistance Grant Program. The program can help recover the cost of car repairs, food replacement and temporary housing expenses.

You’ll find more about it in this press release from Governor Reynolds’ office. If you or anyone in your family needs help applying for any of these programs, please contact Administrator Royster at City Hall and he can help with the application process.

When Will the Power Come Back On?

Quite possibly the biggest frustration people are feeling at the moment relates to the lack of progress being made on restoring power to homes and businesses in Riverdale. Most residences and many businesses in the city remain without power as of Thursday and may not see power restored until the weekend.

According to Mid-American Energy, a little over 2/3rds of the residents in the Quad Cities who were knocked off the grid had their power restored by Thursday morning. Crews continue to work in 16-hour shifts and there are over 1,000 out-of-state utility and contract linemen and tree crews who have been brought in to deal with the situation statewide.

We have posted the full announcement from Mid-American on our website – it has a lot of important information that will help residents monitor progress on restoring power. And if you’re home suffered a direct tree-strike that may have dislodged a utility box or service entrance, please make sure you’ve notified Mid-American.

Mid-American provides update on power restoration work

Mid-American provides update on power restoration work

Mid-American Energy Company issued a comprehensive statement to city officials on the progress the company has been making to restore power to areas affected by Monday’s storm.

MidAmerican’s storm recovery and restoration efforts continue with substantial progress made Wednesday. In 24 hours, our crews, supported by utilities from across the Midwest and beyond, restored more than 63,000 customers’ power. Put another way, since the peak when we had 280,000 customers out, almost 200,000 customers have had power restored in 65 hours. Here is the latest breakdown by location:

Peak outages

Outages as of 11 AM Thurs

Restorations completed

DM

145,000

39,742

105,258

QC

106,000

30,927

75,073

IC

28,000

8,669

19,331

System-wide

279,000

82,000

199,662

MidAmerican linemen and tree crews, along with more than 1,000 out-of-state utility and contract linemen and tree crews on the ground assisting us, continue to work around the clock, 24/7. The crews are working 16 hour shifts, mostly 7:00 AM to 11:00 PM, with some working 3:00 PM to 7:00 AM staggered shifts to support the all-day coverage.

As you may know, we prioritize restoring service starting with the parts of our system that serve the most customers and this includes the rebuild of the large transmission lines and substations. Additionally, facilities that are critical to communities, such as public safety communications, hospitals, water treatment facilities, etc. are at the top of the list. We then work our way down to medium-sized and smaller circuits along with the individual service lines.

Once the “backbone” of our system, which is the larger transmission and feeder lines, was repaired, we started working in the neighborhoods to focus on restoring local service. This work continues in earnest today and we anticipate restoring most customers by the end of the day. However, some customers may remain out into Friday and part of Saturday due to the sheer volume of incidents and extensive damage.

You may get questions from customers about why their neighbors nearby or even across the street are on but they don’t have power yet. There could be a number of reasons, including that they may be on separate circuits, there may be line damage on their property or somewhere nearby, or perhaps a line feeding into the neighborhood is damaged. As you are aware, our utility infrastructure is complicated and often times there are many sources into a neighborhood and community that allow for us to manage the safety and reliability of the system.

As you know, safety is our top priority for all of our customers and employees. If you see trucks in your neighborhoods, either driving by or idled, they are an integral part of our restoration process. These individuals are assisting with assessing and reporting damage, looking for situations where a simple repair will restore service, and in some cases physically watching downed wires that may be energized to ensure people in the area stay away and stay safe.

Please help us to share information regarding who is responsible for certain equipment and connections on their property. If the customer-owned “weatherhead” or “weathercap”, the service head or service entrance cap, is pulled away from the house or if there is damage to the meter box, an electrician may need to make repairs prior to our crews being able to restore power. We have posted a graphic on our website to help our customers understand their electric service connection.

We continue to encourage customers who are experiencing an outage to report them to us as quickly as possible so we can pinpoint areas of greatest need. Outages can be reported on our website, via private message on Facebook or Twitter, or by phone at 888-427-5632. For gas leak emergencies, call 800-595-5325.

Finally, but most importantly…THANK YOU!!! We so appreciate the countless ways you have stepped up to help…including your support, assistance, coordination, communicating information, and so much more.  We know we are in this together…as there are so many working to support the recovery efforts across all parts of the communities that were hit by this historic storm. This recovery is a monumental task…and in partnership we are strong and resilient.

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