Thunderstorms bring tornadoes, hail and flooding

(Radio Iowa News) – At least 19 tornadoes hit three states Sunday — Oklahoma, Kansas and Iowa. Officials say the three likely twisters that touched down in the Hawkeye State struck near Earlham and Huxley in central Iowa and in Grundy County, toward the northeast.

There are no injuries reported, but there is damage, according meteorologist Melinda Beerends at the National Weather Service. “There have been some reports of property damage in the Earlham area and up towards east of Dallas Center,” Beerends says.

“We’ll have storm survey crews out there today trying to see how bad the damage was and where all it occurred.” Beerends says Iowa may see more strong winds and foul storms very soon.

“There is a chance for severe weather today, mainly along and east of I-35 this afternoon and into the evening hours,” she says. Large hail hit parts of southwest Iowa, winds over a hundred miles an hour were clocked in central Iowa, while in the north, Mitchell County reports nine inches of rain on Sunday that brought flash flooding.

Mitchell County Sheriff Greg Beaver says gawkers should not be roaming around to see the storm damage — and even residents should stick close to home. “I want to continue to caution people about coming over this way and traveling here,” Sheriff Beaver says.

“We’re just starting now to see some of the damage from the heavy rains from overnight. Until we get some assessment done and our bridges looked at, if they don’t have to come to Mitchell County today, I would appreciate it if they didn’t.” He says last night’s heavy rain brought widespread flooding.

“Water was over a lot of our roadways and there’s a lot of debris that’s left behind,” Beaver says. “Some of the bridge approaches have been undermined, they look safe and they look typical but there’s just no base there and we don’t want people having to cross those.”

He says on Highway 9, west of Osage, part of the roadway has collapsed at Sugar Creek. Elsewhere, at least three homes in Cedar Rapids were crunched under falling trees. At the peak, the power was out to some 12,000 homes in central and eastern Iowa.

Just last week, Iowa had set a record for longest period of time with no tornadoes. The record is now 358 days of being tornado-free.