Wednesday afternoon’s suffocating heat was followed by a strong storm in western Iowa that downed trees and caused power outages.
Wind speeds as high as 60 miles per hour were recorded in Pottawattamie County and the storm was still packing 59 mile-per-hour winds when it reached Carroll. The storm dumped 1.3 inches of rain in and around the small southwest Iowa town of Pacific Junction.
Mark Renders of MidAmerican Energy says at the peak of the storm, about 4500 customers in the Council Bluffs area lost power. “That number did drop down to around 1500 fairly quickly,” Renders says. “So we were dealing with about 1500 customers that were out from about 6 p.m. Wednesday night through early this morning, around sunrise.”
In the Omaha area, on the Nebraska side of the river, wind speeds from last night’s storm reached 70 miles per hour. A wind gust of 60 miles per hour was recorded in Dunlap just before seven o’clock. Nearly an hour later the National Weather Service received a wind damage report from Waverly, in northeast Iowa. The power outages, though, were primarily in far western Iowa.
“We did have crews out, all night long, as the weather allowed,” Renders says. “We also brought in some additional crews and resources from areas that were not impacted by the storm to help with the restoration.”
Renders says this morning, the utility has about 20 households which are still without power. “If a customer is still out we do encourage them to give us a call, to make sure we have them on the list, to get to this morning as early as possible,” Renders says.
MidAmerican has about 725,000 electric and gas customers in Iowa, South Dakota and Illinois and is Iowa’s largest utility.