Storms Trigger Tornadoes, Hail Throughout Midwest

September 3, 2014

A storm spotter was hospitalized in Iowa on Sept. 1 after he was struck by lightning while watching a system that left swollen rivers, power outages, trees down and campers overturned.

More strong storms rumbled through the Midwest on that night, with the National Weather Service saying a tornado was confirmed near Cedar Vale, Kan.

It also cited hail the size of pingpong balls. Thunderstorms elsewhere were bringing heavy rains and strong winds.

Two tornadoes hit in northern Michigan, the Detroit Free Press reported — one in Ostego County and another in Kalkaska County. Jim Keysor, meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Gaylord, said they damaged some property but caused no injuries. To the south of the state, flooding closed some roadways.

In Iowa, the most affected was the northwest part of the state. East of Denison a storm spotter was hit by lightning as he observed the storm. Crawford County Emergency Management Director Gregory Miller said the man was transferred to a Sioux City hospital where he was treated for his injuries.

Five travel trailers were overturned at Yellow Smoke Park, a county operated campground east of Denison. The Labor Day campers found safety in a shelter at the park after being alert to the coming storm, Miller said. No injuries were reported.

Winds of at least 70 miles an hour knocked down numerous trees and left limbs and other debris strewn about in Denison and Sergeant Bluff, where a few people were treated for minor injuries.

“This is the worst storm I’ve seen in 40 years here,” said Mayor Pro Tem Ron Hanson, the Sioux City Journal reported.

Outbuildings on two farms were damaged in Crawford County, Miller said.

Heavy rain estimated at about six inches in two hours caused flash flooding.

Several highways were covered at various points during the storm. Fast moving water broke through a farm retention dam in Denison, flooding Iowa Highway 39.

About 70 residents of a neighborhood in Missouri Valley were evacuated after water from the overflowing Boyer River broke through a levee early Monday two miles east of Missouri Valley near U.S. Highway 30. A shelter was set up in the city of 2,700, but most people were staying with relatives or friends, Mayor Clint Sargent said.

It was unclear how long the evacuation would be needed but the river was receding, he said. Missouri Valley is about 24 miles north of Council Bluffs.

In central Iowa, waist-high water flooded cars at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines.

In Nebraska, Omaha officials said eight people floating down the fast-moving Elkhorn River abandoned their floating devices as the storm approached and walked through bean fields to the nearest road. No one was hurt, but rescue crews said they were frustrated that people were on the river when they knew a storm was coming, WOWT television reported.

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