Earlier this month, Central Iowa saw the deadliest storm to hit our state in more than a decade.

The storm-ravaged parts of Madison and Lucas Counties, leaving seven Iowans dead and many more injured.

Homes and businesses were left in rubble. Thousands were left without power and many roads were blocked because of debris from the storms.

The storms were the worst to hit since May 2008, when a single tornado destroyed hundreds of homes and killed nine in Northern Iowa. Another storm that year killed four young boys at the Little Sioux Boy Scout ranch in Monona County.

The National Weather Service in Des Moines announced that this year’s storm was a category EF-3 on the Enhanced Fujita scale. EF-3 storms typically have winds in excess of 130 mph and are capable of causing serious damage.

Shortly after the storms subsided, I went to Chariton to join Lucas County and Iowa officials to survey the damage.

It was heartbreaking to see the destruction to this community and the people who call it home.

But then in the darkness, the spirit of Iowa nice shined through. The communities across South Central Iowa came together and united to recover, repair, and rebuild.

While we cleaned up debris, I spoke with community members and local leaders, including members of the Lucas County Board of Supervisors, to hear about how the storms impacted them.

Many had lost their cars, homes, and possessions. But they still felt it was their duty to help their neighbors in a time of need. It is heartwarming to see neighbors helping one another.

I committed to the people of Lucas County that my staff and I would work to get them the resources they need. If anyone needs assistance navigating the federal disaster relief process, please contact my office in Ottumwa at 641-244-7020, my Davenport office at 563-232-0930, or online at millermeeks.house.gov.

Rep. Miller-Meeks Official Photo

Mariannette Miller-Meeks is a resident of Ottumwa who currently represents Iowa’s Second District in the United States House of Representatives.