Damage reports are coming in from across Iowa after last night’s severe weather. At least six counties had tornado warnings, with several unconfirmed touchdowns. Winds reportedly hit 80 miles an hour in central Iowa, blowing cars off of Interstate-35 in Story County. West of Dubuque, near the Delaware County town of Hopkinton, reporter Janelle Tucker talked with the owner of a farmstead that was hit by a tornado. She says windows are boarded up, trees are down and the barn is damaged, while a branch went through a bedroom window, while the corn in the field is all twisted and matted. In far southwest Iowa, as many as three tornadoes cut a path through Fremont and Page counties last night. Bart Bartholemeuw, emergency management coordinator for Fremont County, says one twister hit near the town of Riverton and did considerable damage.Two houses were destroyed along with outbuildings, trees, vehicles and power lines. Page County was next in the storm’s path and Ray Bryant is that county’s emergency management coordinator. The tornadoes did a lot of crop damage as well as damage to homes and outbuildings, but no injuries were reported to people or to livestock. Bryant says Page County was likely hit with multiple twisters.Witnesses report seeing as many as three tornadoes. Mick Ware is Taylor County’s emergency management coordinator and he says damage was minimal there — but they were good and scared for a while.Strong winds slammed southern Iowa’s Union County, tearing up trees and knocking down utility lines. Roger Nurnberg, the county’s emergency management coordinator, says it likely was -not- a tornado, but the winds were severe. Nurnberg says the town of Afton got the worst of the damage, with straight-line winds with some indications of rotation in the damage. The damage follows a path about two blocks wide that stretches clear across the town. Also in Union County, he says the town of Arispe was deluged by thunderstorms. Nurnberg says Arispe “really got dumped on as far as rain goes,” with all roadside ditches throughout town full and running over, while gravel roads were badly washed out with parts of some roads losing all of their gravel. Elsewhere, a nursing home in the Cedar Rapids suburb of Hiawatha took heavy damage and was evacuated — one person was hurt. Flash flooding hit several southern Iowa counties, including Taylor and Ringgold. While up north, Hancock County may’ve set a new record for hail with stones measuring five-and-a-half inches in diameter. Story County Emergency Management Coordinator Lori Morrissey says they had several reports of tornadoes and one that apparently hit the ground. She says they had one report of a touchdown west of Maxwell, and she says it looks like the bulk of the damage is in a five-mile radius between Collins and Maxwell. Morrissey says the storms will keep electric crews busy. She says most of the damage is trees down, with several trees wrapped in power lines. There were power outages both in Maxwell and Collins, a couple of grain bins were damaged along with an abandoned mobile home. Morrissey says everyone appears to have escaped the storm unscathed. She says they didn’t have any reports of injuries despite calls that some cars had been blown off the interstate. Morrissey says state and local road crews were busy removing trees from blocked roadways. She says Highway 65 was blocked for a short period of time.
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