High winds cause minor damage in north central Iowa

Lightning strikes house in FD, no one hurt

-Messenger photo by Joe Sutter
Fort Dodge Firefighters respond to a house at 904 14th Ave. N. after it was struck by lightning around 3 p.m. Sunday. Fire Capt. Jeff Hill said the lightning followed a wire to the ground, and there was no fire, but some minor damage was caused to the house’s electrical system. MidAmerican Energy also responded to the scene.

The rains came again over the weekend, bringing some minor damage from wind across northern Iowa, and even a lightning strike in Fort Dodge.

Firefighters investigated after a house was struck by lightning Sunday afternoon, but fortunately no fire was found.

“These storms are probably elevated, and not surface based. When they’re rooted a little higher in the atmosphere, they tend to produce more positive strikes, and more potent lightning,” said Meteorologist Brad Small, with the National Weather Service in Des Moines.

As far as high winds, “there was a pretty wide swath across northern Iowa,” said Small. “It started in northwest Iowa where they had 50- to as high as over 60 mph winds through Spencer.

“That damage went through the southern part of Palo Alto County. We had some reports of trees down near Manson, and then it kept going down Highway 20. We had trees down in Webster City; we had some damage near Ackley.”

In Fort Dodge, firefighters were called around 3 p.m. after a lightning strike at 904 14th Ave. N.

“The lightning struck the house and it did some damage to the electrical inside their house,” said Fire Department Capt. Jeff Hill.

There was no fire, he said, but some minor damage to the outlets was found. The lightning also followed a wire to the ground, and arced across to a copper water line, punching a hole in the line, Hill said.

MidAmerican Energy assisted at the scene.

The neighbor, Maggie Magennis, had seen the flash.

“Right out my picture window,” Magennis said. “It was a big flash, and I looked outside but I couldn’t see anything. None of the trees, you know, were affected.”

The neighbor on the other side of her house had also been hit by lightning in the past, she said.

“The house next to me one year, they got struck. They had … like a radio tower. It affected their wiring in their kitchen,” she said. “It fried the computer.

“I’m just glad nobody got hurt.”

MidAmerican Energy did see some outages in the area due to weather, said Kathy Krafka Harkema, marketing and public relations manager.

“Right now near Humboldt we have a pole that’s over the road,” she said Sunday afternoon. “A couple poles will be replaced as a result of the storms that went through that area.”

As of Sunday afternoon, the forecast for today was looking like their could still be storms, but they should diminish into the afternoon and evening hours, Small said.

“Then it will be drying out Tuesday and Wednesday, with highs in the 80s,” he said. “Those storms are keeping you cool, but not too far away temperatures are well into the 90s in southern Iowa.”