Tornado passes by Belmond | News |

2022-06-15 13:48:39 By : Ms. Akili Gao

Thunderstorms - some may contain locally heavy rain, especially during the morning hours. A few storms may be severe. High 74F. Winds N at 10 to 20 mph. Chance of rain 100%..

Clear skies. Low 59F. Winds SW at 10 to 15 mph.

   The National Weather Service has confirmed that an EF-2 tornado passed east of Belmond on Dec. 15. The twister was on the ground for about 28 miles. The damage total so far has exceeded $60 million, according to Wright County Emergency Management.  

  Last Wednesday’s well-predicted windstorm traveled at approximately 70 m.p.h. It affected much of Iowa, damaging buildings and causing power outages across the state. At least a dozen tornadoes were identified. About 50 counties, including Wright, Hancock and Cerro Gordo, are part of a disaster declaration by the governor.

  Wednesday began with highs in the upper 60’s. That was followed by a short thunderstorm and the tornado about 6:30 p.m. Powerful straight line winds kicked up later in the evening and lasted until after midnight. One rural resident reported a gust of 85 m.p.h.

  The tornado caused a narrow path of destruction, hitting one spot, then missing another. It started west of Highway 69 near the Eagle Grove turnoff. A number of chicken confinement buildings were completely destroyed, and the nearby grain elevator lost several steel bins. Tens of thousands of hens inside the buildings had to be destroyed.

  The big wind continued northeast for miles, taking out several farm buildings and trees southwest of Rowan and on 180th Street southeast of Belmond. The storm crossed Union Avenue where it damaged more buildings and trees. The twister moved over the Alexander blacktop and headed for Washington Avenue where debris flew into a power pole causing three electrical transformers to explode. A steel grain bin was blown across a road, under some power lines, and into a field.

  The tornado continued to destroy trees and outbuildings along Youngblood Avenue. Three sets of east/ west power lines were bent over. At 140th Street, an entire row of evergreen trees was uprooted. The storm crossed C-20, where a hog building was ruined and three power poles broke off at the ground.

  The big wind continued up Wright Avenue, damaging outbuildings. Several power poles and a steel building near the Alliant substation by the Meservey cemetery were badly damaged.

  In Meservey, the front siding was torn off Donna’s Lounge. The tornado continued northeast, wrecking several buildings near the curve to Thornton, including a Pioneer Seed warehouse. The storm finally blew out northwest of Thornton, according to the NWS. 

  Other building damage was reported northwest of Belmond, where a steel building was lifted into the air, leaving farm machinery inside the building intact. Outbuildings were lost west and north of Goodell. Power poles broke off between Klemme and Garner, causing Highway 69 to be closed for a time.

  The entire storm has been described by some experts as a “serial derecho”, which the NWS says is “produced by multiple bow echoes embedded in an extensive squall line... typically associated with a strong upper level trough with a strong surface low pressure system” during the spring or fall.

  That type of storm is somewhat different than the “progressive derecho” that typically occurs in the summer time, such as the one that devastated central and eastern Iowa in August 2020.

  About two-thirds of Belmond was without electrical power for over three hours Wednesday night. A similar situation occurred in Goodell and Klemme.

  Meservey lost power until about 4 p.m. Thursday. Rowan and Alexander were without power for 27 hours. Some rural areas were without electricity until Friday.

  More than a half dozen Christmas trees on top of the arcade in downtown Belmond were knocked over or pushed to one side. Branches fell out of trees all over town.

  The Dec. 15 derecho is responsible for spawning at least 45 tornadoes in the midwest and breaking a record for the highest number of hurricane force (75+ mph) wind gusts in the U.S. in one day.

   (More pictures with the story below: "Wind storm causes much damage".)

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