Hail, floods hit region

ROCKWELL CITY – Baseball-sized hail left many car owners in Rockwell City with damaged cars Monday morning.

The hail dented more than 50 cars being sold by Champion Auto, and left 12 with shattered windows.

“Pretty much everyone in town got some hail damage,” Tom Campbell, a salesman at Champion Auto said.

Most of the shattered windows were back windows.

Campbell said he has “no idea” how much it will cost Champion to repair the cars.

“But it won’t be that bad,” he said.

Other cars throughout the city were damaged as well.

The hail broke Kelly Liechti’s windshield.

The last time Liechti, who is from Rockwell City, saw hail this big was in 1989.

“It was the same size as baseballs,” she said. It was about 3 inches in diameter, on average.

The hail lasted for at least half an hour.

“It sounded like someone was throwing boulders at my house,” she said. “It was crazy. The house just shook.”

The storm left Liechti with a flooded yard and minor hail damage on her other vehicles.

“This is going to be ‘fun’ to clean,” she said.

Liechti’s home is only one of many that suffered minor flooding in Rockwell City.

The Rockwell City Park also flooded.

Meanwhile, Fort Dodge saw scattered hail around the size of ping-pong balls once the storm arrived Monday.

“It’s been really spotty where it’s landed,” Tony Jorgensen, Webster County emergency management coordinator, said.

Strong winds caused tree damage and roof damage near Otho.

Jorgensen said he is unsure if the the winds were straight winds or if a tornado touched down.

“That’s the largest damage that I’ve seen,” he said.

Jorgensen said it is likely there is more damage though.

“Traditionally it does take some time for those reports to come in,” he said.

As of Monday evening, Fort Dodge received 1.44 inches of rain, according to the National Weather Service.

In addition to the wind and hail damage, the Des Moines River will continue to rise until late tonight or early Wednesday morning.

The river was up to 11.2 feet Monday afternoon, which is seven-tenths of a foot above flooding level.

The river is expected to rise to 12.5 feet, though it could be more.

“That’s just what the computer is saying,” Jorgensen said. “As more rain comes down, it could be more.

“The river is no place for people to be playing,” he said. “A lot of the times it’s already dangerous and when it’s high like this it’s even more dangerous.”

Jorgensen also advises not to drive over flooded roadways.

“You don’t know the condition of the road underneath the water,” he said.

Jorgensen said to be aware of what’s going on.

“Pay attention to the media, follow forecasts, be prepared and pay attention to what is happening,” he said. “When there’s heavy winds, anything that is not secured in your yard could potentially become a missile.”

He said a lot of people are injured by flying debris.

“We have good resources for weather predictions, so people need to take it upon themselves and pay attention to those messages and be prepared for what’s happening,” he said.

The weather will likely clear up by Wednesday afternoon, he said.