Severe weather hits Iowa

DES MOINES – Damage including flooded roads and downed power lines was reported around Iowa as severe weather packing golf ball-size hail, torrential rains and strong winds moved through the state Monday.

The National Weather Service said it received dozens of reports from county emergency management offices and others about damage caused by severe thunderstorms. There were several reports of storms that were capable of producing tornados, but officials have not confirmed them.

For most of the day, large swaths of the state were under some periods of watches or warnings for potential tornado activity or flash flooding. At least one person was reported dead.

“People today definitely need to keep an eye on the sky and stay weather-aware,” said meteorologist Jeff Zogg.

Reported damage included snapped trees in Hamilton County, downed power lines in Hardin County and flash flooding in Black Hawk County. A man was killed in Fairfax after a building collapse caused by strong winds in the area, according to the Linn County Sheriff’s Office. His name has not been released. A second person in the building had injuries that were not life-threatening, but additional information was not available.

A severe thunderstorm capable of producing a tornado was located near the community of Traer, and similar systems were reported earlier near communities including Earlham, Indianola and Roland, but additional information was not immediately available. Preliminary storm surveys are scheduled Tuesday.

In Cedar Rapids, officials warned residents to stay away from downed power lines as more severe weather was expected in the eastern part of the state. Meteorologist Jim Lee warned people, “to stay alert for the latest watches and warnings.”

The severe weather hit just one day after spotters noted several tornadoes along the U.S. Highway 20 corridor, which runs across the northern part of the state. There were also reports of numerous funnel clouds.

Sunday’s weather, which produced wind gusts of up to 70 mph, caused other damage around Iowa. A highway near Fairfax partially collapsed and the driver of a semitrailer was injured. Additional information was not available.

Part of a highway near Mount Vernon also partially collapsed. There were no reports of injuries.

“The road has washed away,” said Cathy Cutler, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Transportation. “There’s a culvert just to the south of there, and we believe a large amount of rain we had caused the culvert to overflow and to undermine the road, causing a washout of the pavement.”

Sunday’s weather also brought reports of snapped trees and damaged property around the state. In Cedar Rapids, emergency personnel helped motorists trapped by rapidly rising water. Several homes received significant water damage, officials said.