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Days After Flooding Auto Shops Are Busy With Towing and Repairs

CLIVE, Iowa -- During the flooding it was common to see motorists stuck in the water.  Even on Thursday some still need a tow to a mechanic.

“In a two day span we ran over 250 calls for service. Most of them were flood related whether they had driven in or were already in the water and needed assistance getting out” said Joe Jerkins, General Manager of West Side Auto Pros.

Jerkins says the tow truck crews were working overtime, going through the night towing as many people as possible.

“People did have priority service, if they were stranded in distress and it wasn't just their car in water then they were given priority” he said.

However, they were still making tows on Thursday, like at the Plumwood Terrace Apartments in Urbandale where the underground parking garage had flooded out. Jerkins says if you still need a tow the best thing you can do for your car is to wait it out.

“Don’t even try and start it, there's a chance that it could be salvageable, let the professionals get their hands on it first. One of the worst things you can do is keep spinning the engine over and over and over and hope something good is going to happen. When you get water and stuff inside your engine it can hydrolock it, and if that happens you're at a minimum buying a new engine” said Jerkins.

That means insurance agents have been busy, but for those without comprehensive coverage, it could mean big bucks to repair or replace the car. Polk County Emergency Services say they are working with the federal government to see if the floods will qualify as a national disaster, which could free up federal grant dollars for flood victims.

“The process is not easy unfortunately, it starts with getting damage assessment to present to state and federal officials.  We think we have a very good case.  A few minutes ago we met with officials from the state, they have a timeline for us, we are continuing to collect and compare that to the numbers that are required of federal officials.  Each of them have their own regulations, requirements” said PCES Director AJ Mumm.

Mumm says if the flooding meets the requirements for private damage assistance residents could be eligible for up to $5,000 in grant money.