Flooding, felled trees left in storm’s wake
North Central Iowa was recovering from storm damage Tuesday after strong storms rolled through the area Monday night.
Tornadoes were spotted in some counties, while others reported heavy rains and winds. Gov. Terry Branstad has issued disaster proclamations for five Iowa counties, including Pocahontas.
Different counties reported varying degrees of damage, from tree branches being blown over to buildings being destroyed.
MidAmerican Energy spokeswoman Julie White said there were about 1,700 customers without power in the Webster County area.
Most of them were restored within three hours.
White said there were also 640 customers that lost power early Tuesday morning, all of whom were restored later that day.
At the height of the storm, the Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives showed about 1,000 customers were without power statewide, said Regi Goodale, director of regulatory affairs.
About 300 were still without power late Tuesday morning, he said.
The Franklin Rural Electric Co-op saw significant damage
Goodale said extra employees from other counties were sent to help the Franklin Rural Electric Co-op.
“They had a stretch of line that was underbuilt on some MidAmerican transmission that went down. We’re working on that,” he said.
Cornbelt Power Cooperative had about 60 to 70 transmission poles go down in the storm, said Kathy Taylor, vice president of corporate relations. Some substations were briefly out as well, but most could be routed around.
“Most of the areas hit hardest were in the central part of the Cornbelt system, and over in the eastern part,” Taylor said.
Cornbelt supplies power to nine member cooperatives including Prairie, Iowa Lakes and Boone Valley cooperatives.
Humboldt County Sheriff Dean Kruger said the county suffered quite a bit of wind damage, including downed trees and power lines, along with significant water damage.
Both Kruger and one of his deputies reported seeing a tornado.
“Bode got hit pretty hard,” Kruger said. “Of course, just about every community got hit hard.”
In Bode, a tree fell on a car, and north of town, a young woman tried to drive through water across the road “and the car was sucked into the ditch,” he said.
The woman was OK, but the car had to be towed.
As of Tuesday morning, Kruger said there were no reports of structural damage to barns or outbuildings.
There was little to no major damage reported to Webster County officials following Monday night’s storms.
Tony Jorgensen, Webster County emergency management coordinator, said the only incident that had been reported to him was a slight gravel washout in Dayton.
He did say that a local storm spotter reported a total of 3.26 inches of rainfall north of Fort Dodge.
Sheriff Jim Stubbs said that rain has caused the rivers and creeks to rise, but other than that he said the county didn’t receive any damage.
“I think we were very fortunate,” he said. “We skirted some of the really severe weather.”
The downpour provided the first significant test of the new storm water collection system that features a retention pond near Veterans Bridge on First Avenue South in Fort Dodge.
”It functioned like it’s supposed to,” said Chad Schaeffer, the city’s director of engineering, business affairs and community growth. ”It functioned and fared well.”
Schaeffer said that only a small area is now connected to the retention pond. More areas on the city’s east side will be connected to it.
City crews had to pump out just one sanitary sewer line that was overwhelmed by storm water. Schaeffer said a pump was set up at a manhole in the 900 block of South 17th Street. In previous years, multiple pumps had to be set up during every major rainfall.
High winds and a possible tornado damaged both property and trees in Wright County Monday evening as storms rolled through the area.
Wright County Emergency Management Coordinator Jim Lester said most of the damage happened in rural areas northeast of Woolstock and northeast of Belmond.
“There are trees down and we had some outbuildings, machine sheds and barns that were destroyed at some of the locations,” Lester said. “There’s also some vehicles that have been damaged.”
Nobody was hurt during the storm, which occurred from 7 to10 p.m.
Parts of Clarion and Eagle Grove also saw trees that had been knocked down by wind.
Lester didn’t have a timeline for when cost estimates for damage would be available.
Two tornadoes were spotted in Pocahontas County Monday.
One tornado was seen near Plover between 5 and 6 p.m., and another was reported south of Laurens between 7 and 8 p.m.
“They popped right out of the clouds, went down briefly and popped right back up,” Sid Enockson, communications supervisor for the Pocahontas County sheriff’s office, said.
Both were spotted by law enforcement.
Although there were two tornadoes, Enockson said they damage that was caused appears to be “very minor.”
“We didn’t get any damage from the storms other than a lot of rain,” he said. “We had a lot of flooding in low-lying areas, basements and some street flooding.”
He added that there were many small branches that were blown off of trees.
In Calhoun County, both Manson and Rockwell City reported more than 3 inches of rain, said Jody Simpson, communications director for the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Department.
The county responded to a large tree down on Calhoun County Road N37, Simpson said. Limbs also fell into power lines, leading to temporary outages. There were no reports of major storm damage, houses or farm buildings damaged, and there were no tornadoes.
Despite the storms that passed through the area Monday, Hamilton County officials did not receive any reports of storm damage.
Phil Queen, Hamilton County emergency management coordinator, did say the county received plenty of rain.
“We had heavy rains and high winds,” he said. “If there was damage, nobody has reported it to myself or the dispatch center.”