Ice, flood and wind

Wind and water push Des Moines River through flood stage, send bricks hurling from top of downtown building

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson
The Des Moines River near the Hawkeye Avenue Bridge flowed mostly free of ice Monday afternoon after an ice jam formed over the weekend.

Flooding issues in Webster County were minimal on Monday, but strong gusts of wind caused some damage to structures throughout the area.

Multiple bricks toppled from a building located at at the intersection of South 11th Street and Central Avenue, causing a portion the road to be closed off.

No injuries were reported.

Brooke Hagenhoff, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Des Moines, reported a few gusts of of wind reached between 35 mph and 40 mph in the early afternoon.

The bricks fell from the east side of the structure and landed on the sidewalk.

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson
About a dozen pieces of brick fell to the sidewalk at the corner of South 11th Street and Central Avenue Monday morning as wind gusts of more than 30 mph blew through Fort Dodge.

At least a dozen pieces fell from the top of the structure.

According to Tony Trotter, Fort Dodge city engineer, that area was sectioned off at about 8 a.m.

Trotter said he wasn’t sure how long it would be closed.

He said typically the owner of the building is given an action plan to fix the problem.

The plan is provided through the city’s inspection department.

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson
Large broken pieces of ice collected on the shore of the Des Moines River.

Troy Brandt, Fort Dodge building official, did not immediately return a phone call Monday seeking comment.

Bricks from the same building fell from it in 2015. It was later determined to be structurally sound by the experts who examined it.

Trotter also reported that one of the banners located at the roundabout at First Avenue South and Sixth Street, blew away on Monday.

“It looked like the welding on that failed,” he said. “That’s still under warranty.”

He said the company that installed the banners would pay to replace it.

In Algona, the roof covering Snap-On Tools, 2600 U.S. Highway 18, sustained damage, David Penton, Kossuth County emergency management coordinator, reported.

The black roofing material which typically lays flat was blown upward.

“It was adhered to the roof,” Penton said. “Now the seal has been broken. It’s going to be a pretty big repair.”

In addition to some roofs being tested by the wind, tree branches were downed throughout Kossuth County.

“We have a lot of tree branches down around town,” Penton said. “Driving around the county, doing some assessments I’ve seen power lines whipping along. I wouldn’t be totally surprised if we ended up with a power outage or something.”

Flooding in Kossuth County was not a factor on Monday, Penton said.

“As far as flooding nothing that is affecting us from the ice jam south,” he said. “We are not really having a problem with that in any of our locations. No reports of water in basements. As far as that goes we are sitting alright.”

A flood warning has been issued in Webster County, but according to Scott Forbes, Webster County emergency management coordinator, the water is not threatening at the moment.

“Right now we haven’t had any issues,” Forbes said. “It’s kind of a yearly thing when the ice starts to break up it gets lodged somewhere and blocks up the water until it gets enough pressure to break that ice free. That does create some possible flooding from that. We had that break up this weekend.”

An ice jam that formed over the weekend has since moved further down the Des Moines River.

Forbes said the water was at about 13 feet.

“The flood stage is at 10 foot around that location,” he said. “Once it gets over that 10 foot. When we get over the moderate level it’s 16, 17 feet, that’s when you would see flooding on roads and things.”

He added, “It looks to be flowing pretty good right now and I have been down to Lehigh. It’s high but not up over the banks yet.”

Forbes said if everything keeps moving the water should stay at around the 13-foot mark.

“We are not predicting anything that would bump it up that much,” he said.

When coming upon water on the road, Forbes advised not to go through it.

“Just turn around,” he said. “Find an alternate route.”

Melody Larson, Humboldt County emergency management coordinator, said flooding hasn’t been an issue there.

“I came through Fort Dodge and saw the ice in the river and when I came to Humboldt there wasn’t any,” Larson said. “It looked like it was up a little, but not a whole lot.”

In terms of the wind, Larson said vehicles on the highway were getting pushed around from the strong gusts.

The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Department reported a large branch down within city limits, but no other damage.

The the sheriff’s departments in Wright, Sac, Pocahontas, Palo Alto and Calhoun counties reported no damages.

Much of north central Iowa, including Webster County, entered into a winter weather advisory Monday night.

The advisory is in effect until 3 p.m. today.

Hagenhoff said snow totals are expected to be about 2 inches by the time the weather event ends tomorrow night.

She said Fort Dodge would experience strong northwest winds from 15 to 20 mph, with gusts up to 25 mph through the night.