PELLA, Iowa — Governor Kim Reynolds toured parts of the state that were hit the hardest by the tornadoes that ravaged central Iowa Thursday evening, saying it was a "miracle" that nobody lost their lives..
“I don’t know if you really can really put in words what you see it’s just devastating. It really, really re-enforces how lucky we were that nobody was hurt or killed," Reynolds said outside of Vermeer Manufacturing in Pella, which sustained significant amounts of damage, including two buildings that were completely destroyed.
Reynolds stopped in Bondurant, Pella and Marshalltown to assess the damage Friday.
The scene in Pella: cars swept up by the wind, strips of metal on the road and buildings in pieces. Company officials said they nearly lost two buildings entirely on their one-mile manufacturing plant , but despite the tragedy, they are confident that they can get some business up and running again by next week.
Within the next two weeks, officials hope they can back to producing over half of their normal output.
“Yesterday Vermeer was impacted by the very natural disasters our machines show up to support when the unthinkable happens," said Jason Andringa, CEO of Vermeer. “Vermeer is not only going to survive, we’re going to thrive."
Fixing the significant damage, Andringa said, will be a long-term project.
"It will likely be awhile before the Vermeer mile is back to the way it was as of a couple of days ago," Andringa said.
Reynolds said FEMA is already on the ground in Iowa assessing damage causes by the floods that hit Polk county a few weeks ago. She said while it's here, the agency also take a look at the tornado damage to see if it qualifies for federal relief.
The Governor also issued Friday disaster proclamations for the four counties --- Lee, Marshall, Polk and Van Buren --- affected by severe storms and tornadoes.