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Weather threatens

By Staff | May 30, 2008

Paul Bunyan was here This tree in East Side Cemetery was struck by lighting Wednesday night, as evidenced by the strip of bark peeled from the top of the trunk to the base. Paul Bunyan with a draw knife could not have done a better job. EDN photo by Michael Tidemann

Conditions were ripe for disastrous weather Thursday and Estherville/Emmet County were in the targeted area.

Emmet County Emergency Management Coordinator Terry Reekers said the typical garden variety storms descended on the area early Thursday at 3 a.m. and lasted past 8 a.m. The precipitation, accompanied by lightning and thunder, dumped a good inch everywhere in the county.

“We had a lot of wind and brief periods of heavy rain,” Reekers explained. “Flooding issues on Thursday were prevalent all over the state. Almost the entire state was under a flash flood watch.”

Reekers said the flash flood watch is “preparation time” in the event flooding occurs.

At 4 p.m. Thursday, the West Fork of the Des Moines River was at 4.14 feet. Flood stage is 7 feet.

The western third of Iowa braced itself for more severe weather.

“One to 2 inches of rain is forecast for northern Iowa and we are at high-risk for severe weather Thursday evening.”

Reekers said the forecast was calling for high winds, large hail, flash flooding and tornadoes.

Although the temps in and around the area were on the cool side, Reekers said it was “deceiving.”

At 4 p.m., it was 68 degrees in LeMars. Looking at the weather map, Reekers said, “The parts of Nebraska where these storms are brewing, the temperatures is in the 80s. Right now, Sioux City is 73. The warm air pushing this way will collide with the cooler air here. The temperatures at this time are warming to the west.”

He said the western third of the state was in the high-risk category for tornado formation Thursday evening beginning in the 5-7 p.m window.

Reekers noted that Clay, Dickinson, Sioux and O’Brien counties were targeted as of noon Thursday. “When you live in or near the watch area, considered yourself included.”

The threat of tornadoes were forecast through the evening and the early part of today. “They are expected to decrease as the night goes on but accompanying the storms will be heavy rains and large hail. This continues to be a very activity weather year. Monitor the weather closely.”

The coordinator noted there is about a 20 percent chance of wet weather today and Saturday with a chance of precipitation for Sunday through Wednesday. Temperatures are forecast to be in the 70-degree range.