OTTUMWA — Strong storms blasted southeast Iowa Saturday evening, breaking the heat wave but leaving significant damage in their wake.
Several large trees were knocked down in the area around Gara Street, including one that completely blocked the road and another that hit power lines. The latter did not disrupt power, but could not be removed until crews disentangled it from the electrical lines.
Other scenes were similar around Ottumwa, as crews began Sunday by working to remove downed trees and limbs. The playground at Ottumwa Park was littered with large branches, though there did not appear to be damage to equipment.
Trees in the Ottumwa Cemetery were also hit hard. At least one was toppled near Jefferson Street, while others were felled within the cemetery grounds.
At its peak, Alliant Energy said there were more than 2,000 people in Ottumwa without power. More than 170 customers were still without power Sunday morning.
The damage took place throughout the region. Mahaska County officials reported numerous trees down, according to the Storm Prediction Center’s damage reports. Multiple power lines were knocked down in Fremont.
The highest wind gust recorded at the official weather station in Ottumwa was 28 mph, but there was good evidence higher winds hit town. Damage reports included a tree on the south side of town that was uprooted by the winds, which would not have been possible with gusts that low.
The official measurement of less than an inch of rain from the storms was also in question, as runoff moved sections of asphalt on North Court Street.