Hail, high winds and one twister bring scattered damage across much of Iowa

Photo sent to NWS by Ron Reimers in Baxter

Reports say a woman in eastern Iowa survived a lightning strike in Sunday afternoon’s severe thunderstorms, while a tornado touched down in southwest Iowa’s Fremont County near Hamburg about 8 o’clock last night. That twister was relatively weak and there are no reports of significant damage.

Meteorologist Alexis Jimenez, at the National Weather Service, says the biggest trouble-maker in this round of storms was large hail.

“We’ve had quite a few reports of hail, especially in the afternoon hours yesterday,” Jimenez says. “We had up to baseball-sized hail out in places near Carroll. You also had a lot of reports of damage from hail in places like Grinnell. We also had two-inch hail in Ames.”

Trees and power lines were damaged, causing power outages in Cedar, Iowa and Keokuk counties, with the largest outage being about a thousand homes in Johnson County. “We also did have some damaging wind reports,” Jimenez says. “We had some severe wind gusts last night, especially in places like Oceola, we had some damage reports down there.”

Strong winds blew a semi onto its side on Interstate 80 near Grinnell, injuring the truck’s driver and tying up traffic. Wind gusts exceeded 60 miles an hour in some places, including near Collins in Story County.

Photo by the Story County Sheriff’s Office, near Collins

“We also had some power lines that had been knocked down on Highway 65,” she says. A photo from the Story County Sheriff’s Office shows a whole row of utility poles either snapped off by the straight-line winds or leaning to the side with the wires still attached.

The weather service is still weeding through dozens of spotter reports of large hail.

“Just a lot of hail damage to siding and to roofs where we did have those severe hail reports,” Jimenez says. “We did have some straight-line wind damage, just a lot of trees down.”

Multiple media reports say a woman was struck by lightning about 4:30 PM Sunday in a Target parking lot in Cedar Rapids. She was reportedly alert and conscious when first responders arrived, though no name or condition report was released.