Severe Weather Brings Flash Floods, Wind Gusts To Eastern Iowa

Aug 29, 2018

Residents across eastern Iowa are cleaning up, after severe weather pelted the area Tuesday night. The storm brought hail, flooding rains, and winds upwards of 80 miles per hour, knocking out power to thousands, downing trees and flattening some crops.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the National Weather Service in the Quad Cities has confirmed an EF-0 tornado touched down on the Clinton and Scott County lines. It traveled just over four miles, causing damage to trees, a house and corn fields. The agency also confirmed wind speeds of 85 miles per hour in Mount Pleasant. Rainfall was heaviest in Mount Pleasant, which saw more than 6.1 inches, Keokuk, which saw 4.9 inches, and Ottumwa, which measured 4.19 inches. NWS crews are still compiling final survey results.

Local media reports showed areas of flash flooding in Iowa City, damage to buildings in Keokuk, and downed powerlines in North English. As of Wednesday afternoon, MidAmerican Energy reported more than 100 customers are still without power in Iowa City and the Quad Cities, down from the more than 11,000 customers reported without power Tuesday evening.

Some of those cleaning up after the storm are workers at the offices of the Crisis Center of Johnson County in south Iowa City. Spokeswoman Sarah Sedlacek said the organization was suprised by the extent of the flooding, which was worse than what they experienced during the historic floods of 2008.

“It was much worse than we anticipated. We just never would’ve guessed that that would happen. Our entire parking lot was completely flooded. It was like a lake,” Sedlacek said. “All of our offices on the south and east side of the building were completely flooded. It came in through the doors and went down the hallways and into the offices.”

The center, used to providing emergency support for others, is now in recovery mode itself. Workers are still assessing the impacts to the agency's computer systems and flooring. As of Wednesday afternoon, the organization had been alerted their insurance policies will not cover the storm damage. The center hopes to make up the difference through community donations.

"Somebody posted on Facebook last night that they were concerned that the Crisis Center was in crisis," Sedlacek said. "We're the ones that usually provide the disaster recovery."

Still, Sedlacek says there will be no interruptions to the center’s services, which include a 24 hour hotline, food pantry, community support groups and emergency financial assistance. 

"It could've been much worse," she said.