The Ottumwa Courier


April 28, 2014

NWS investigates tornado possibility

OTTUMWA — Tornado or not, the Wapello County area got slammed.

"We've been pretty lucky compared to what other people have lost," said Joyce Smith of rural Ottumwa. "We had a whirlwind come through, it took our grain bin, a 20,000-bushel grain bin, blew it down the hill."

Ottumwa emergency personnel, including Chief Tony Miller from the Ottumwa Fire Department, were out to take photographs of damage on Mary Street and at the Smith's home off Bluegrass Road.

The bin was empty at the time. An equipment storage building was not.

"Our machine shed had the ... side torn out. It contained an auger, a tractor and a truck."

It's a mess now, Smith said.

But as for what specifically caused the damage, Ottumwans may not know until Tuesday: Was Wapello County hit by a tornado?

The National Weather Service storm damage survey team was going to be in Ottumwa Monday morning, said Miller. He would be available to show them around. But by mid-afternoon, the team was just leaving Centerville for Ottumwa and would likely stop to investigate damage along the way.

Everything was fine on the 300-acre Smith property when they left for town Sunday afternoon. As winds picked up, Smith said, local merchants seemed more concerned about public safety than product sales.

"We were in Wal-Mart when it happened. They locked us all in; they wouldn't let us out."

The Smiths, Joyce and Eudene, found their damaged property when they got back home from shopping in the late afternoon.

"Our [neighbor] said it sounded like a freight train came through. He only lost one tree."

In fact, said the National Weather Service report, most of the damage updates they received spoke of downed trees. Though people swore they heard "freight train" sounds, straight-line winds accounted for most damage. The experts say similar roaring sounds can be created by other events: a continuous rumble of thunder, the pounding of hail and severe thunderstorm winds.

Text Only
  • Parks Dept. has long list of projects

    OTTUMWA — The Parks and Recreation Department has approved a list of capital improvements for the next two years that includes the installation of handicapped-accessible swings and new park bathrooms.

    July 9, 2014

  • 0710 Farmers Market Color Photo 1 -L -M Fresh food improves community

    OTTUMWA — Every summer across the Midwest, food stands pop up on gravel roads, and farmers markets are filled with a variety of home-grown products. Finding a fresh selection of healthy greens and juicy fruits isn't as hard as you might think. Accord

    July 9, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0703 OTT Heart boy photo A Heartfelt Miracle OTTUMWA — It’s funny how wishes can change so completely in just a few weeks. But laughter wasn’t the reaction of Jeff and Mary Penrod.The Ottumwa couple’s son, Brandon, was 18 years old when, in February, Mary took him to the Pella clinic to get loo

    July 2, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0703 OTT River Hills parking lot color photo -L -T River Hills expansion progresses

    OTTUMWA — Expanding River Hills Community Health Center downtown continues to be a priority with the Ottumwa City Council. Earlier this week, the council authorized city staff to survey the property, prepare a draft developers agreement as well as pr

    July 2, 2014 1 Photo

  • Street repair program begins OTTUMWA — If you think roadwork projects in the city of Ottumwa are just about complete, think again. This week, the Ottumwa City Council awarded its preventative maintenance contract for sealing cracks in asphalt and concrete pavement roads througho

    July 2, 2014

  • A new look OTTUMWA — The 300 block of East Main Street in Ottumwa will be getting a facelift. During a public hearing earlier this week, the Ottumwa City Council gave its OK to the plans and specifications to renovate 15 buildings’ storefronts in downtown Ottum

    July 2, 2014

  • City won't tolerate bad behavior

    OTTUMWA — A newly designed policy to establish standards of behavior was presented to Ottumwa City Council on Tuesday night.The new policy’s introduction on Tuesday, demands city staff and elected officials exhibit professional behavior when they int

    July 1, 2014

  • 0702 OTT library grant color photo -T -L -M Ottumwa Public Library updates genealogy room

    OTTUMWA — The Ottumwa Public Library is the recipient of a Bright Ideas Community Enrichment Fund Grant from the Ottumwa Regional Legacy Foundation. The Friends of the Ottumwa Public Library group gave $5,520 to put toward a new microfilm reader. The

    July 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0625 OTT Riverfront Renaissance color photo -L -M Riverfront Renaissance begins mapping out ideas

    OTTUMWA — It was serious work to play with stickers and maps Tuesday evening. Concentration was on more than 70 faces as colored dots found their way up and down several maps of the river flowing through downtown Ottumwa. The Ottumwa Regional Legacy

    June 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0624 OTT Marine photos Marine mourned by family

    OTTUMWA --- Adam Wolff's extended family was able to enjoy a bit of time with him before he deployed. "He came back in March, after his [Marine Corps advanced] schooling in North Carolina," said his sister, Angela Malone. "We had a dinner for him, a

    June 23, 2014 1 Photo 1 Story

AP National