From late June 2014 and into early July, two separate strings of storms swept over central Iowa, producing as many as 11 tornadoes, and knocking down telephone poles, downing trees and flooding out homes.
Iowa is no stranger to severe weather during the spring and summer months. In fact, it’s estimated that the state averages about 50 days’ worth of thunderstorms and 37 tornadoes each year due to its summertime heat and humidity – but where the twisters touchdown is largely hit or miss. The two waves of storms hit smack dab in the middle of Gundy County residential communities, causing structural damage to many homes and businesses and flooding the local Rainbow International of Gundy County with a slew of calls for help.
“We were getting phone calls for assistance literally every 5 minutes,” says Jason Scafferi, owner, Rainbow International of Gundy County. “That went on for at least 2 days.
“Iowa usually witnesses a number of tornadoes, but where they’re going to hit is always a gamble. This is the second year in a row where we’ve had major flooding issues at some point in the summer. The devastation was a lot more severe this year than in past years.”
In total, Scafferi says his company received 44 total jobs from the storms, and while most were flooded basements from heavy rainfall and sump pump failure, they completed work on four homes that were directly hit by tornadoes.
“One of the houses that got hit by a tornado, it actually tore the entire garage off and then it tore half the roof off,” he says. “It literally just lifted the roof off and threw it out into a cornfield. And then it rained on top of that, so it flooded the house from top to bottom. We had to remove all interior components from the home to get it ready for reconstruction.”
But as Scafferi soon found out, working 44 jobs simultaneously is no easy task, especially when it comes to equipment and manpower. And as you might imagine, it wasn’t long before their inventory of restoration and drying equipment began to diminish due to the multitude of work they had received.
Scafferi reached out to nearby Rainbow International franchisees for help, but discovered that they were experiencing the same increase in workload in their areas. So he reached out a little further – to the Marysville and Junction City, Kansas and Sioux Falls, South Dakota locations.
And they delivered.
The Marysville location immediately sent over a trailer full of air movers and dehumidifiers. A few days later, owner Brad Eichelberger came to the area himself to help out with things. The Junction City location also sent equipment and workers on the 5-hour-long trek to Gundy County to help out and Rainbow’s Sioux Falls location sent over 80 air movers and 6 dehumidifers – along with other restoration equipment – to help with the efforts.
“Rainbow International franchisees always come together as a family,” Scafferi says. “When one is in need, the others are there to serve and help the families who are in greater need.”
The assistance in both manpower and equipment allowed Scafferi to complete all 44 jobs in about a week and a half, many of them in three days or less.