After the storm
Tornadoes touch down in Calhoun, Hamilton counties; Significant property damage reported in Lake City
LAKE CITY — Tornadoes spawned by a series of storms that rolled across north central Iowa on Wednesday overturned vehicles, destroyed buildings and knocked down trees in Lake City.
No deaths or injuries were immediately reported.
According to the National Weather Service, Calhoun County law enforcement reported a confirmed tornado at 4:22 p.m. The tornado was located about nine miles southeast of Rockwell City and moving east at 20 miles per hour.
A tornado warning was issued for the southeastern part of Calhoun County and the southwestern part of Webster County at 4:28 p.m. Emergency sirens were activated in Gowrie and Callender.
The tornado warning expired at 5 p.m. and the tornado watch, first issued at 2:35 p.m., remained in effect until 9 p.m.
A second tornado warning was issued for Calhoun County at 5:58 p.m. north of Lake City and heading toward Rockwell City, but eventually expired with no further damage reported.
Storm chaser drone images from Brian Emfinger showed an overturned truck and trailer east of Lake City. On the same lot, a home was severely damaged with a flurry of debris and flattened crops nearby.
The bus barn, located south of South Central Calhoun High School, had its roof and doors damaged.
Ron and Joan Buse’s farmhouse, outbuildings and trees were demolished late in the afternoon when a tornado ripped through their property northeast of Lake City along Iowa Highway 4.
The grandfather clock in the living room was still standing after the storm, but it stopped keeping time at 4:10 p.m.
According to MidAmerican Energy’s Outage Map, there were five outages reported in Calhoun County, with 1,388 customers without power after the storm. Included in that power outage was Stewart Memorial Community Hospital in Lake City. A hospital manager confirmed that the facility was running on electricity from a back-up generator, but said everything was otherwise OK.
Geoff Greenwood, media relations manager for MidAmerican Energy, said that a tornado damaged more than a dozen utility poles along Iowa Highway 175.
”This transmission line feeds power to our substation in Lake City, which distributes power to the area,” he said. ”We have crews in Lake City and more are headed that way. I don’t yet have an estimate on when our crews will be able to restore power, but they’re working as quickly and safely as possible.”.
The last tornado of significance that went through Lake City was on May 10, 2015.
It ripped the roof off of South Central Calhoun High School while 100 people were inside for its senior awards night at about 7:30 p.m. on a Sunday.
That storm knocked out power and uprooted trees in the area.
Fortunately, no injuries were reported.
In Webster County, Sheriff Luke Fleener said a few funnel clouds were reported on Wednesday afternoon.
One funnel cloud did touch down briefly northwest of Gowrie, according to Webster County Emergency Management Coordinator Dylan Hagen..
It did not cause any damage and Hagen said that as of Wednesday evening he had not received any reports of damage or injuries resulting from the storms.
“We fared pretty well,” he said.
He said there was standing water on some county roads following the storm, but he didn’t think it was significant enough to be a concern.
The warning sirens in Gowrie and Callender sounded off a couple times Wednesday, but those in Fort Dodge did not activate.
Hagen said in Webster County, the sirens are only activated in the areas where there is an actual tornado warning. Years ago, all the sirens in the county would be activated for a warning anywhere in the county, but that is no longer the procedure.
In Hamilton County, Sheriff Doug Timmons reported that two tornadoes touched down. One was near Stanhope; the other was near Jewell. The damage was mostly limited to crops and power lines, he said.
According to the sheriff, the storms moved along a straight path south of Webster City.
Ann Blankenship, Darcy Dougherty Maulsby, Bill Shea, Chad Thompson and Kelby Wingert all contributed to this story.