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Storms trash Woodbury Co.

By Staff | Oct 9, 2013

A GRAIN AUGER lifted from a near-by hog confinement unit at the farm lies near the farm driveway. In the background are three ruined hog confinement buildings.

MOVILLE – Twenty farmsteads in northwestern Iowa’s Woodbury County were destroyed, and about 60 more were damaged by at least three tornadoes Friday, county Emergency Management Director Gary Brown said.

“There’s a lot of cleanup to do here,” he said Saturday. “There’s a lot of damage.”

Lane Tabke stood in the driveway of his hog confinement farm southeast of Moville Monday afternoon surveying some of that damage. It was what little remained of his farm operation following Friday’s violent weather.

It wasn’t, he said, the damage that was first and foremost in his mind at the moment.

“Our family wants everyone who’s come to help us know how much we’ve appreciated it,” he said. “It’s just phenomenal. We’ve had people who’ve come from Des Moines, South Sioux City and Rock Rapids as well our neighbors and local residents. It’s been unreal.”

A WOODBURY COUNTY corn field east of Moville shows signs of its bout with the Friday night storm.

Three hog confinement units were destroyed or severely damaged. Among them was a 37-year-old structure that, through the years, housed 37,000 hogs, Tabke said.

To the east on the hill was what remained of a large steel confinement unit with the roof lying to the side of the foundation.

The grain bin -which stored 200,000 bushel of grain – was gone, parts of the steel unit crumpled like used tin foil in fields across the road.

Missing, too, was the machine shed.

“Now, this is basically all gone,” Tabke said.

“Our family wants everyone who’s come to help us know how much we’ve appreciated it.” —Gary Tabke Woodbury County farmer

Various types of Tabke’s farm equipment also showed signs of their encounter with the tornado.

Gone, too, was the roof of the family’s farm home. Some corn fields also gave evidence of the storm with minor damage to the soybean crop .

“We’ve lived here 37 years,” Tabke said. “Friday night’s tornado is actually the third we’ve been through.”

The first was in the early 1980s. The next was one day shy of exactly a year of Friday night’s storm.

“Our insurance adjustor is suggesting we consider moving,” Tabke said.

Taking another look around the wreckage Tabke said, “I guess you could say this last one was one heck of a wind.”

Elsewhere in the county, Sioux Jersey Dairy, in Salix, sustained damage. It reported structures damaged and a propane leak, but no loss of livestock.

Corn fields in the Correctionville and Pierson areas were some of the hardest hit by the storm.

John Hoppe, manager of Western Iowa Coops’ Pierson elevator, described the corn in the path of the storm as “just flattened” on both sides of the road in some areas.

He said producers in the Washa, Correctionville and Pierson areas within Western Iowa’s 11-site network were hardest hit.

Hoppe said some early variety corn brought into the co-op before the tornadoes had yields of 205 bushel. Similar yields he said had been expected from the yet-to-be harvested crops now pounded into the ground.

“I expect we’ll be seeing producers attempting to take the combine where there’s not too much shrapnel (from the storm),” Hoppe said, “but it’s too early to tell how successful they’ll be.” He said his brother was anticipating a 225-bushel yield from his unharvested corn.

Hoppe who said he “spent most of Saturday and Sunday” in local fields viewing the damage said there’s not as yet a good reading on soybeans also damaged by winds and hail.

“It’s too early to tell if we’ll be seeing beans swell and pop open,” he said. Anticipated bean yields is in the mid-50s to low-70s.

Brown said the storms cut a path 35 miles long through the county, from Sloan to Pierson.

Only one minor injury was reported in northwest Iowa, resulting from a car accident associated with the storm.

A number of livestock, however, were killed, but definitive numbers were not available.

Brown said at least a couple of hundred residences along the storm’s path were without power by midday Saturday, mostly in rural areas. Some phone service also was interrupted.

MidAmerican Energy reported 1,640 customers without power with most of them located in the Des Moines area, but dozens in Council Bluffs and Sioux City.

Alliant Energy said the storms left 350 customers in the dark around Boone.

The storms packed winds estimated at 70 miles per hour as they moved through central Iowa.

Tree branches as large as 7 inches in diameter were knocked from trees.

Hail at least 3/4 of an inch was reported in some locations.

The Associated Press contributed to this report?

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