Heavy rain and high winds brought widespread power outages and flash flooding to much of the state overnight. There are reports of wind damage in the Fonda area, a tornado near the town of Whiting, a funnel cloud near Templeton, and roads closed due to high water in Ames and the Des Moines area.
National Weather Service Meteorologist Aubry Wilkins says it’s been a rough several hours. A lot of rain fell in central Iowa last night, with the highest total reported in Ames at just over five-inches. Utility crews were called out early this morning as power outages were reported over a wide area, from Sioux City and Storm Lake to Des Moines and the Quad Cities — with as many as 15-thousand homes in the dark at the peak of the storm.
There are reports of trees down and power out as she says the soil is so saturated, the trees and power poles were likely easier to tip over. Also, Wilkins says there were many reports of lightning overnight and one strike evidently set a church on fire near Dubuque.
Following record or near-record amounts of rain during June and July, she says August is already shaping up to have historic potential. Roads were closed due to flooding in Ames and in the Des Moines suburb of Windsor Heights, where some cars were stranded by the high water.
There were numerous flash flood warnings overnight along with many reports of water running over roads, some of them fairly deep, which Wilkins says is not a surprise, given the amount of rain that fell over a short amount of time. While the thunderstorms posed a significant threat overnight, Wilkins says today’s biggest challenge may be the extreme heat.
Heat advisories and heat warnings are being issued, especially for parts of southern and western Iowa, though she says if the clouds remain overhead, it may keep the region from getting very hot. High temperatures are expected in the low to mid 90s for much of Iowa today, with high humidity. An Excessive Heat Warning is in effect for parts of southwest Iowa, where the heat index — a combination of the heat and humidity — may reach between 105 and 115 degrees.