JOHNSTON — As many as seven tornadoes touched down in Iowa in the past two days, which is highly unusual for this time of the year.
Two twisters struck on Monday in Guthrie County near Jamaica and in Clarke County near Woodburn, while perhaps five more hit Tuesday afternoon and evening.
Meteorologist Kurt Kotenberg, at the National Weather Service, says they’re looking over the damage in multiple locations from Tuesday’s severe storms to determine what happened and where. “We’ve gotten some pictures up near the Janesville/Cedar Falls area in Black Hawk County of at least one residence that had one of their barns destroyed,” Kotenberg says. “Unfortunately, one of their calves was injured by debris from one of the buildings striking it.”
Two possible tornadoes were spotted Tuesday in Benton County near Blairstown and Chelsea, with others possible in Adair County near Greenfield and in Warren County near Indianola. There are other unconfirmed reports of tornadoes Tuesday near Creston, Toledo and Centerville.
Cold weather has moved in and much of the state will have low temperatures in the 20s and 30s for the rest of the week, which means the chances of more tornadoes are very slim. “So when you get that cold of weather, it’s really hard to get tornadoes because tornadoes really are more favorable when you have a warm, moist, tropical air masses, dew points in the 60s and 70s,” Kotenberg says. “Obviously, when you have air temperatures in the 30s, that’s far from moist, tropical weather.”
While tornadoes can form during any month of the year, Iowans don’t usually hear those sirens this late into fall. “Usually the tornado peak is in June and July, then as soon as you hit August, it really starts to decline,” Kotenberg says. “It’s definitely atypical to have this many tornadoes in Iowa in October.”
Another big concern is the amount of rain that’s been falling in the recent storms, which is saturating the soil, causing flooding and critical delays to the harvest. Some parts of Iowa have had rain 13 of the past 14 days.