Power outages abound in central Iowa as a result of storms

News, Weather

June 17th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Thousands of people were without power early this (Tuesday) morning, as storms dropped tornadoes, created damaging wind and large hail, and left copious amount of rain that resulted in street flooding in some areas. As of 4:45-a.m., just under 43,300 people were without power across Iowa (down from more than 60,000 an hour earlier), with about two-thirds of of the customers located in Des Moines and the surrounding area. MidAmerican Energy reported a total of 31,014 customers who were without power, Alliant reported 11,452, while the Rural Electric Cooperatives fared much better. Only 840 customers were without energy statewide, with most being in Franklin County.

The Des Moines Register reports tornado sirens sounded, falling trees snapped power lines and heavy rain battered the Des Moines area It was a night of severe weather statewide. Storm spotters reported at least seven tornadoes throughout the evening and into the early morning, including twisters near Plover, Goodell, Laurens, West Bend, Clear Lake, Mason City and Tripoli. At least two of those — West Bend and Tripoli — were confirmed by the weather service on Monday.

Authorities in Nebraska say dual tornadoes that touched down in a small town about 100 miles northwest of Omaha killed a 5-year-old and injured at least 19 people, some of them critically. It happened in Pilger, a community of about 350. The National Weather Service says the twin twisters touched down within roughly a mile of each other. A county commissioner says more than half the town was wiped out. Many homes were damaged and the structures that were demolished including the co-op grain bins. A sheriff said a school is beyond repair.

The injured had to be taken to three regional hospitals, including a trauma center in Omaha. Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman declared a state of emergency. The National Guard is preparing to assist local emergency responders and help with the cleanup.