We’ve said it many times in the past, straight line winds can be just as bad if not worse than a tornado. That’s what may have happened in portions of central and eastern Iowa early this morning. Major damage was reported in several communities in counties including Marshall, Tama, Benton and Linn. Winds approaching 90mph ripped through the communities damaging or destroying buildings, homes, businesses and knocking vehicles off the road.
To make matters worse, tens of thousands are without power, leading to a state disaster declaration not only for the damage, but in an effort to set up cooling stations. Conditions will once again be hot and humid over the state today, hampering cleanup efforts.
In the community of Traer, major damage was reported to at least one business. Trees and power lines are also down. In central Iowa, even radar couldn’t avoid this storm. KCCI is reporting today that WHO-TV’s doppler radar was destroyed in the storm. In the picture above, you see the wall ripped out of a home under construction in the Vinton area. These were powerful winds capable of damaging just about anything caught in their path.
To make sure a tornado was not responsible for any of this damage, the National Weather Service in Des Moines will conduct surveys in several central and eastern Iowa counties. The National Weather Service in the Quad Cities is also out investigating the damage in Benton, Linn and Jones Counties.
The storm that caused this continues to trek to the east, already approaching the east coast this afternoon. So this will go down as a derecho, a common occurrence during this kind of weather pattern in the summer months.
We are working to get as much information on the damage as we can, unfortunately we must focus our attention on the threat of more storms in the next 48 hours. We’ll have more on that in a later posting and will add photos to this story as they come in. Storm chaser Dan Gottschalk has been busy this morning documenting the damage. You can see his full photo gallery by clicking here.