Storm Damage Reported In All 99 Iowa Counties
National Weather Service survey teams plan to span out across Iowa on Thursday to access the damage caused by Wednesday’s storms.
NWS Meteorologist Alex Krull told Radio Iowa the storms caused damage in all 99 counties. As many as five tornadoes touched down across the state and straight-line winds topped 80 miles per hour in many locations. Officials received multiple reports of downed trees and structural damage.
Statewide, more than 150,000 power outages were reported at the height of the storm. Utility crews from multiple companies worked throughout the night to restore electricity to the effected areas, a task made difficult by continuous high winds.
Several locations were still without power Thursday morning. More than 11,000 customers in 19 northeast Iowa counties remained in the dark as of 6:15 AM. At that time, the heaviest effected areas were Winneshiek (4,257 outages) and Howard (2,479) counties.
Wednesday at 10 PM, Mid-American Energy reported around 48,000 customers were without power. Company officials estimated it would take 36 to 72 hours to restore electricity to the impacted areas. They planned to provide another update Thursday at 8 AM.
The widespread power outages caused some school districts to cancel classes on Thursday. In eastern Iowa, those districts included Howard-Winneshiek, Rudd-Rockford-Marble Rock and South Hardin.
Other districts started classes two hours later than scheduled. They included: Allamakee, Charles City, Eastern Allamakee, MFL-Mar-Mac, New Hampton, North Butler, Oelwein and Postville.
Officials at Northeast Iowa Community College Center also announced a 10 AM opening for the Cresco Center on Thursday.
One of the five tornadoes spawned by the storm is believed to have touched down near Rudd in northeast Iowa. Floyd County Emergency Management officials reported widespread damage throughout the city, including destroyed buildings, uprooted trees and downed powerlines.
According to officials, the city of Rudd will likely be without electricity or water for several days. The city's water plant was either destroyed or heavily-damaged, officials said.
Tornadoes were also reported in Cass, Greene, Plymouth and Woodbury counties in western Iowa. In Greene County, sheriff's officials reported that a twister caused significant damage in the city of Jefferson. Severe damage was also reported in the Plymouth County town of Kingsley.
The storm is blamed for at least one death in eastern Iowa. The Iowa State Patrol said a semi driver was killed when strong winds tipped the rig on its side in Benton County. Officials did not immediately release the victim's name.