Travel is not recommended in many parts of the state due to intense rain and flash flooding last night and this morning. Jim Lester, the emergency management director for Wright County, says he’s urging everyone in his county to stay home until the floodwaters recede.

The rain started last night around 10:30 and has continued, forcing the closure of several key highways that are all underwater. Lester says work crews are trying to seal off roads that are water-covered, but driving in many areas will be hazardous as the conditions quickly change.

County and state DOT workers are flagging and barricading roads as they’re finding them, but he’s asking people not to travel in Wright County until officials get a handle on the situation. Lester says he’s heard a report of as much as five-inches of rain falling on parts of the county since last night.

He says the power went out in Clarion about 10:30 last night and it was off for many homes until 4 o’clock this morning, and some homes are still in the dark. That translates to many flooded basements as the electric sump pumps couldn’t run.

Severe storms are becoming almost a nightly occurrence for many parts of Iowa. That’s because a large weather system is stalled over the state and it’s dumping large amounts of rain. Jacob Beitlich, a forecaster with the National Weather Service, says a change could be coming by tomorrow.

“We’re really hoping that the front will push to the south and to the east and when that happens, we should get some drier weather and get this hot, humid weather that’s been sitting over Iowa the last week or so outta’ here,” Beitlich says. “We’ll still have the warm weather but the chance for rain should diminish.”

At least two tornadoes are reported in the severe storms overnight. One touched down in Humboldt County, the other in Franklin County near Iowa Falls. Wind damage is reported in several counties, including Fayette, Black Hawk and Bremer, with gusts reported as high as 77 miles an hour.

By Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City