Sunday storms bring large hail to southwest Iowa, twisters elsewhere

News, Weather

May 20th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Storms that swept through western and southwest Iowa dumped large hail and heavy rain to some locations, while central and eastern Iowa experienced tornadoes. Iowa had gone 358 consecutive days without a tornado, prior to Sunday. The National Weather Service confirmed tornados touched down in the Story County city of Huxley, and near Earlham, in Madison County. Another was witnessed in a farm field, by firefighters near Grundy Center. There were no reports of injuries. A storm survey team will fan out across Dallas, Madison and Polk Counties today (Monday), to assess the damage and provide an estimate of what type of weather event (Tornado or straight line winds), occurred, along with the scope of the event.

Downed power lines left about 11-thousand homes and businesses without power across the state. Semi-trailers blew over west of Earlham, and on Interstate 35, near Ankeny. And, a farmer in Mitchell County lost cattle when wind blew over a barn, killing some of the animals inside. 

In western Iowa Sunday evening…A trained spotter reported 2.5″ diameter (Baseball-sized) hail fell 3-miles west/southwest of Carbon, in Adams County. Hail completely covered the ground. Two-minutes later, the public reported slightly larger than baseball-sized hail fell in northwest of Carbon….Thunderstorm wind damage was reported 4-miles SE of Shenandoah, where extensive roof damage occurred to a barn, and Nickel to quarter-sized hail reported by law enforcement.

At around 5:24-p.m., a trained weather-service spotter noted more than two-inches of rain had fallen over the past hour 5-miles east/southeast of Charter Oak, in Crawford County. Water was pouring out of fields and into the ditches. At about that same time, law enforcement in Sac County observed a funnel cloud 4-miles southeast of Lake View, between there and the town of Ulmer.

At 6:30-p.m., a National Weather Service employee reported straight-line winds southwest of Earlham, in Madison County, caused damage to as many as 8 mobile homes in a trailer park, including one unit with its roof missing. At about that same time, Madison County Emergency Management reported a tornado on the ground 2-miles west of Earlham.  Power poles were snapped west of town, a shed was blown over in the same location.

A couple of minutes later and further east, in Dallas County, amateur radio reports said several 6-to 8-inch diameter tree limbs had snapped near the high school in Adel. Emergency management officials reported winds gusting up to 60-miles per hour were occurring at around 6:40-p.m., along with pea to marble-sized hail. At 6:41-p.m., a tornado was reported to have occurred 2-miles south of Adel. A couple of minutes later, hail the size of half-dollars fell in Adel, according to emergency management officials.

(Updated)