Storm tears through Iowa City, leaves thousands without power

The storm, a rare weather event called a Derecho, took down trees and power lines across downtown. No major damage was reported on the UI campus.

A+fallen+tree+partially+sawed+is+seen+on+Monday%2C+Aug.+10%2C+2020.+With+wind+gusts+around+80+mph%2C+the+derecho+%C2%AD--a+widespread+wind+damage+event+produced+by+severe+thunderstorms--+hit+Iowa+City+in+the+afternoon+causing+tree+damage+and+power+outages.+

Hannah Kinson

A fallen tree partially sawed is seen on Monday, Aug. 10, 2020. With wind gusts around 80 mph, the derecho ­--a widespread wind damage event produced by severe thunderstorms-- hit Iowa City in the afternoon causing tree damage and power outages.

Rylee Wilson, News Editor


Storms tore through Iowa City Monday afternoon, where 70-100 mile per hour winds downed trees and left thousands of people without power. 

One fallen tree blocked Madison Street early Monday afternoon near Hubbard Park but the street reopened soon after city staffers worked quickly to clean up the debris. 

At least two traffic lights were knocked down by the storm in downtown Iowa City. A makeshift stop sign was set up on the corner of Market and Clinton Streets. At the intersection of Highway 1 and Riverside Drive, police blocked north and south bound traffic due to powerless traffic lights. Trees and branches fell on homes, damaging cars, and powerful winds flipped downtown diner seating.

The City of Iowa City asked residents to stay off the roads if possible, as tree limbs made streets impassable, and traffic lights were out. 

The storm, considered a derecho due to its high wind speeds and size, swept through central and eastern Iowa in the late morning and early afternoon. The storm continued to pass through the Midwest, reaching Chicago in the early evening. 

MidAmerican Energy reported 26,957 customers without power in the Iowa City area as of 6 p.m. Monday evening. 

Repairs will take multiple days, the Midwestern energy company posted on Facebook Monday evening. More than 250,000 of its customers were without power across Iowa and Illinois. Additional crew members will help remove tree limbs and repair downed power lines and poles.

A windblown lamp post is seen on Monday, Aug. 10, 2020. With wind gusts around 80 mph, the derecho ­–a widespread wind damage event produced by severe thunderstorms– hit Iowa City in the afternoon causing tree damage and power outages. (Hannah Kinson)

UI spokesperson Jeneane Beck said in an email to The Daily Iowan that no major damage on campus was reported aside from damage to trees. 

“People are advised to stay away from large trees, potential damaged/falling branches, until a full cleanup effort is completed, estimated to take 24 – 48 hours,” Beck said in her email.

UI power was back up as of 6 p.m., though areas on campus served by MidAmerican Energy were still without power. 

The City asked residents to report downed trees, and said they could expect traffic delays. 

 

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