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North central Iowa feels brunt of storms

By Staff | Jul 23, 2010

This Dickinson County corn field was battered Saturday night and early Sunday morning with hail. Other fields were flattened by wind gusts up to 96.9 miles per hour.

MONTGOMERY – Winds as high as 80 miles per hour, with gusts measured at 96.9 mph battered northern Iowa late Saturday night and early-morning hours of Sunday, flattening corn fields, uprooting trees and doing some damage to buildings and grain bins.

Larry Lago, director of Farm Service Agency in Dickinson County, said the community of Montgomery, in northern Dickinson County, was hammered hard, and rural areas west of Spirit Lake also felt the brunt of the high winds, heavy rain and some isolated hail.

He said the n umber of affected acres had yet to be tallied by Tuesday, but said the townships of Diamond Lake and Lakeville were in the concentrated area of the storm.

“It’s going to be hard to predict the yield loss,” Lago said, meaning the dollar value damage is still unknown.

Iowa’s five congressmen Steve King (Dist. 5), Tom Latham (Dist. 4), Leonard Boswell (Dist. 3), Bruce Braley (Dist. 1) and Dave Loebsack (Dist. 2) are seeking a presidential disaster declaration for Iowa communities that have been devastated from weather patterns that started June 1 and were predicted to continue throughout this week.

This tree was one of a half dozen blown down or uprooted on the Erik Larsen farm near Montgomery. His home also sustained damage from the weekend storm that one Dickinson County resident dubbed “Hurricane Ijoboko.”

Lago quoted Iowa State University research that indicates at the present point of crop development yield loss could be from 12 percent to 30 percent.

“That’s all going to depend on weather we have favorable weather,” Lago said. “If there is less than favorable weather, the yield loss could be greater.”

According to Paul Kassel, ISU crop specialist, based in Clay County, but serves Dickinson County, said Tuesday that some of the corn was showing signs of restanding.

However, Lago noted, how well the lodged corn can absorb sunlight and mature properly is questionable. “And even if it matures,” he added, “how easy will it to be to combine?”

ISU’s Kassel said additional damage occurred southeast of Ruthven and north of Ayrshire, both in Palo Alto County, and near Ringsted in Emmet County.

Tuesday afternoon, the Associated Press reported that the accumulated storms from the weekend and heavy rain Monday night across southern Iowa brought heavy rain and flash flooding to parts of Missouri, Illinois and Iowa, shutting down at least three major highways and forcing evacuations and water rescues.

The storms dumped up to 10 inches of rain, causing many streams and creeks to flow out of their banks. Dozens of roads were closed for part of the day, including sections of U.S. 36 near Hannibal, Mo., U.S. 61 at the Iowa-Missouri border and U.S. 63 near Kirksville, Mo.

“There’s quite a bit of water in places we don’t normally have it,” said Mark Giessinger, a spokesman for the Missouri Department of Transportation.

There were no immediate reports of death or serious injury.

An unknown number of people were evacuated Tuesday near Rathbun Lake in southern Iowa and a wastewater treatment plant in Centerville was partially flooded after heavy rains soaked the region.

The National Weather Service said Centerville has received about 5 inches of rain starting Monday night, causing the localized flooding.

Appanoose County emergency management coordinator John Arnold said a small subdivision near Rathbun Lake, north of town, was evacuated Tuesday over concerns that connecting roads might become impassible.

“If they don’t get them out of there they’re going to be trapped for a little bit. They won’t have a good way to get out,” Arnold said.

More than 14,000 MidAmerican Energy customers in Iowa and western Illinois are without power following the band of Sunday morning’s powerful band of storms.

Winds gusting at up to 72 mph early Sunday downed power trees and power lines.

The city of Des Moines was hardest hit with more than 9,000 outages Sunday afternoon. West Des Moines and Urbandale had more than 1,000 customers affected.

Contact Larry Kershner at (515) 573-2141 or at kersh@farm-news.com.

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