Weatherwise, 2004 will be remembered for its tornadoes. There were one-hundred-20 tornadoes in Iowa this year, a record. During the months of May and June, there were several, large outbreaks of tornaodes. State Climatologist Harry Hillaker says fortunately only one — the May 21st tornado that hit the northern Iowa town of Bradgate — caused injuries. “There were a few others that caused some major damage here and there,” Hillaker says. “Most of the ones that we did have of the 120 were very small and very short-lived.” In terms of general weather statistics, 2004 was a little bit wetter and a little bit warmer than normal. Temperatures in Iowa this year averaged about eight-tenths of a degree above normal. “Not much above normal, (but) it will be warmer than last year,” Hillaker says. Iowa got an inch-and-a-half more precipitation than normal. “So not significantly wet, but wetter than it’s been the last several years.” There were two episodes of flooding this past year, though. There were wide-spread, heavy rains in late May over the northern two-thirds of the state. A second round of flooding in mid-September hit northern Iowa. Hillaker says some areas got as much as seven to ten inches of rain overnight. Finally, when it comes to snow, Hillaker says there were some unique storms in late January and early February. “We had three major snow storms come across the state in just a 12 day period and particularly hit western parts of the state real hard,” Hillaker says. Onawa had 28 inches of snow on the ground at one point during that period.
Archives for December 2004
The Iowa Hawkeyes have one final practice later today before tomorrow’s Capital One Bowl against defending national champion LSU. The Hawkeyes are 9-2 after finishing the season with a seven-game winning streak and go into the game as a touchdown underdog. It is a role linebacker Chad Greenway says the Hawkeyes have used to their advatage all season, as he says it’s good to be the underdog and sneak up on people. Greenway says The Big Ten and the S-E-C are leagues that are perceived to have different styles of play. He says it’s always a speed versus strength thing that people talk about, but he says both teams probably think they’re as strong and as fast as the other.Iowa whipped Florida 37-17 in last year’s Outback Bowl but Hawkeye safety Sean Consdidine expects the Tigers to be more of a challenge on the ground. He says their strength is running the ball and they have a physical offensive line. With a victory the Hawks would finish with ten or more wins for the third straight year and would provide another top ten finish. Considine says that’s a pretty big accomplishment and they have to take advantage of what they have ahead of them.LSU is also 9-2 and the Tigers finished the regular season with six straight wins.
The 18th ranked Iowa women opened Big Ten play with a victory over Indiana. Crystal Smith had 24-pooints and six steals as the Hawkeyes downed the Hoosiers 62-51 in Iowa City to improve to 12-0 on the season. Iowa coach Lisa Bluder says you always want to take advantage of the home court and start out strong in the Big Ten and she says they did that. The Hawkeyes close out a busy week with a visit to Illinois on Sunday. She says it’ll be nice to have two days to prepare, but she says they still have to travel, so it’ll be a tough week.
The Drake Bulldogs grabbed their first road victory of the season at Indiana State and did so in dramatic fashion. Klayton Korver hit two free throws with no time left to send the game to overtime and the Bulldogs would go on to down the Sycamores 74-69 in Missouri Valley Conference play.Pete Eggers on the post-game show on KRNT said he knew his teammate Korver was going to hit the free throws. Eggers led Drake with 17-points as the Bulldogs improved to 4-5 on the season. Eggers says getting first road win in the conference is big.Drake visits Southern Illinois on Sunday.
A bizarre accident in Cedar Falls has left a business damaged and three people seriously injured, including two 91-year-old women. Police say a car exited a driveway at a high rate of speed, crossed a street, jumped a curb, went through a parking lot, a crashed into the rear of the metro area redemption center. The vehicle crashed through an open overhead door and block wall, striking a worker inside the business. Officials have identified the driver as 91-year-old Lenora Potts of Waterloo, who was trapped in the damaged car for more than 40 minutes. Potts and her passenger, 91-year-old Eleanor Rohrabaugh, also of Waterloo, both suffered serious head and internal injuries. The employee, 42-year-old Marvin Feckers of Parkersburg, is also hospitalized with serious head injuries. The accident, which occurred shortly after 3:30 Thursday afternoon, remains under investigation.
A 23-year-old Marion man’s jailed, charged with killing four people in a drunk-driving crash last night. Four members of a Fredericksburg family were headed for Chicago a little after 10-30 last night on Interstate 380. They made it as far south as Cedar Rapids, when their car collided with one driven by Cory Evans near the “five-in-one” bridge in the heart of the city. Killed were 20-year-old Antonio Uribe, his wife, infant son, and young brother. Investigators say they were Mexican natives working legally in Iowa and live with other family members in Chickasaw county. Northbound lanes of the freeway were closed for several hours following the accident and authorities say when investigation’s done they may file charges against Evans in addition to the drunk-driving charge he’s being held on today.
Storm Lake residents will be asked to chip in three-and-a-half million dollars for part of the 29-million dollar “Awaysis” project. City administrator John Call says a special election will be held for the outdoor pool early next year. February 8th is the special election date for the pool. It’ll need to get at least 60-percent of the vote to pass. Call says property tax payers won’t have to come up with any more than the three-point-five million. The total cost for the pool complex is four-point-two million and Call says it won’t be any old ordinary swimming hole.The pool will have a zero depth entry, several slides and an outdoor “lazy river” that runs around it — a higher scale pool compared to most in the region. The Awaysis project also includes a new public beach, an 80-room hotel/lodge, a lighthouse, a renovated golf course and condos. The Vision Iowa board put eight-million into the program. The city council will hold a public hearing January 3rd on the issuance of six-million dollars in urban renewal bonds which would be paid back by future revenue from the hotel.
Iowa State Patrol spokesman Jim Saunders says there’s a simple way to avoid having you New Year’s celebration end in tragedy. He says particularily over New Year’s or anytime, if you’re going to consume alcohol, have a designated driver. Suanders says troopers will be on the lookout for drunken drivers throughout the weekend. He says if you are heading out to a party — check the weather conditions first — and take some precautions. He says wear your seatbelts, obey the traffic laws and allow plenty of time to get to your destination. State officials say a drunk driving conviction can cost you several thousand dollars.
A western Iowa law officer shot and killed a suspect last night. The shooting happened a little after 7 last night north and west of Shelby at the conclusion of a high-speed chase. A Shelby County Sheriff’s Deputy tried to pull over a car for speeding, but the driver took off. After about ten minutes, officers were able to stop the car with a roadblock. The deputy reportedly approached the car, saw what he thought was a gun in the driver’s hand, and fired one shot, killing the driver. The identities of the deputy and the dead suspect have not been released.
An Iowa National Guardsman is resigning from his post in the South Dakota state legislature. State Representative Bill Van Gerpen of Avon was just elected to a third term but he’s also a chaplain, serving with the 185th Tanker Wing of the Iowa Air National Guard in Sioux City. Van Gerpen says his active duty has been extended, probably until June. Knowing he won’t be available to serve constituents in the legislature, he’s sent his resignation to South Dakota governor Mike Rounds and he expects to hear soon who’s been chosen to replace him. Van Gerpen says he just couldn’t leave his legislative seat open for virtually the whole session.He says “it just wouldn’t be fair” for him to be absent virtually the whole session, and have a vacant seat in that district instead of someone serving constituents. Van Gerpen has served 32 years in the military, 7 of those on active duty with the Air Force, and is a Lieutenant Colonel. He says he’s giving up more than just a seat in the state house of representatives. He was asked this year to chair the South Dakota Ag and Natural Resources Committee, which make sit harder to give up, but he says there are good people available to take his place and he’ll be in Iowa with mobilized personnel. He says there is a lot of stress involved with the guard and reserve members that are on active duty and their families. A spokesman for the South Dakota governor thanked Van Gerpen for his “commonsense” approach to his legislative duties, saying he’ll be missed. Governor Mike Rounds is working to choose a replacement for Van Gerpen.