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Central Iowa slammed by storm

24,000 without power

July 11, 2011
By KEN BLACK - Staff Writer (kblack@timesrepublican.com) , Times-Republican

Central Iowa residents woke up Monday to a great deal of damage, as storms passed through the area, some of which may have packed winds in excess of 100 mph.

One of those hit hard by the wind was the residence of Lenda Robertson, who had a tree come down on a portion of her home during the 4 o'clock hour in the morning.

"I lived in Arkansas and I had heard limbs and trees breaking because of the ice storms we had there," she said. "But this is the loudest thing I had ever heard."

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She said her daughter slept in the bedroom just below where the tree had fallen but was able to escape without injury. Everyone eventually left the home, but she said there was significant structural damage and some damaged walls inside.

She said she had called for the police department to come check and see if there were any downed power lines so that she and her children could exit the home safely, but they would not come. She thanked her neighbors.

"I do have some great neighbors who came over and asked if they could help right away," she said.

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T-R PHOTO BY TAMMY R. LAWSON
'I don't know what's going to happen with the harvest since a lot of the corn has been flattened along with the silos,' says Tim Doyle of Chelsea, who farms acreage in Marshalltown. Several grain cylinders and other equipment were converted into twisted pieces of steel Monday morning.

Despite some of the problems, the Marshalltown Police Department and Marshall County Sheriff's Office reported no injuries.

The Red Cross, hoping to keep problems to a minimum, opened up a shelter in the Marshall Town Center for those without power to come and cool off during the heat of the day. They could also recharge emergency equipment there.

The storm knocked out power to many customers. Alliant Energy Spokesperson Ryan Stensland reported that there were 24,000 customers without power in the Marshalltown zone. In Marshall County itself,

90 percent of Alliant Energy customers were offline. He said it could take anywhere from 24 to 48 hours to restore power to all customers.

"The main problem is the main lines which serve the area are down," he said. "We hope to work on those lines and the lines in town at the same time."

That lack of power led to long lines at the few gasoline stations that were open in town. One of those was Kwik Star, located in front of the Marshall Town Center on South Center Street.

"I've been waiting probably 20 minutes," said George Cunningham, who was working in town at JBS but lives in the Kansas City, Mo. area. "I hope I can get up there quick. If not, I'm going to be in trouble."

Marshall County Sheriff Ted Kamatchus said there was extensive damage throughout the county, and judging from the way the damage looked and how widespread it was, he believed it was all straight-line wind damage with no or very little tornadic activity.

"It was definitely a high wind and it was sustained. That's where the damage came from," he said. "Fortunately, there are no injuries that we know of."

Assistant Marshalltown Police Chief Brian Batterson said he hoped everyone

would take it slow on the roads and keep sightseeing to a minimum.

"If you come to an intersection with no functioning traffic lights, remember to treat it as a four-way stop," he said.

The disruption caused problems in other areas as well. Mark Davis, a spokesperson for Union Pacific, said trains were stopped after sheriff's deputies reported power lines across the railroad tracks near Quarry. Tracks re-opened at 2 p.m. And 19 trains were delayed.

The National Weather Service is conducting an assessment of the damage in an attempt to explain if there were any tornadoes, but that assessment was not published as of press time.

 
 

 

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