Parkersburg residents pulling together following tornado - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Parkersburg residents pulling together following tornado

by Ron Steele

PARKERSBURG (KWWL)-- There is incredible heartbreak, but amazing hope in Parkersburg Monday night.

Parkersburg is a scene of some of the worst tornado damage I've ever seen. The loss of life is beyond description in this tight knit town.

Governor Culver has toured the devastation in Parkersburg and has already made a state disaster declaration.

Next, he'll ask the federal government for help.

Monday morning, Governor Culver spoke on the phone with President Bush.  He described, for the president, the seriousness of this scene of devastation in the community of Parkersburg.

The storm killed 4 people in Parkersburg and two in nearby New Hartford, more than 220 homes have been destroyed, and at least another 200 have sustained serious damage, and more than 20 businesses have been destroyed.

The mayor says more than a third of the entire community has been damaged.

While speaking with President Bush, the governor,  at one point handed the phone to tornado victim Sharon Schipper.  She told her story to the President of the United States.

First District Congressman Bruce Braley also toured the destruction and promised quick help.

But amid the piles of debris, Parkersburg residents are coming together with amazing determination of hope and inspiration, as they begin to rebuild their proud community.

Senator Tom Harkin says he will ask the Federal Emergency Management Agency to expedite federal aid for storm victims, because it's obvious, in addition to the terrible loss of life, property damage will be in the millions.

As you can imagine, access to Parkersburg is being tightly controlled, to let the storm victims find belongings and to keep sightseers out.

Online Reporter: Ron Steele

Online Producer: Michelle Caldwell

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