Storms punch through SE Minnesota, Midwest
Published 7:35 am Tuesday, June 17, 2014
System brings flood and tornado warnings
By Jenae Peterson, Alex Smith and Jason Schoonover
Winds topped 60 mph, a few roads inundated with flood waters were closed, and a school roof partially collapsed as a line of severe thunderstorms passed through Mower County and the region Monday night.
The storms brought flood warnings and tornado warnings to the area around 7 p.m. Monday, but no touchdowns were reported in Mower County. The flood warning was still in effect Tuesday morning, as flood waters were expected to rise until tonight.
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Part of the roof of Southland Senior High School in Adams collapsed due to pooling rain water after plugged drains caused air vents to fill with water; however, the extent of the damage wasn’t known this morning.
At least 2 to 3 inches of rainfall was reported across the county — 3.29 inches at the Austin Municipal Airport, according to the National Weather Service. County State Aid Highway 20 northwest of Dexter was closed and under water near Dexter.
Monday’s storm may have only been the first round, as additional storms are possible throughout the week.
There is a slight risk for severe storms tonight, Wednesday and possibly on Thursday. The National Weather Service warned of a chance for damaging winds, large hail, isolated tornadoes, but especially flooding.
“We’ve got the potential for additional flash flooding,” said meteorologist Andrew Just.
In northwest Austin, Turtle Creek was expected to rise above the 10.5-foot flood stage to around 11.3 feet. In northeast Austin, Dobbins Creek was at 12.5 feet this morning — above the 11.5-foot flood stage, according to the weather service. It was expected to crest at 12.9 feet.
Mower County Emergency Management warned citizens along Dobbins this morning to take action to protect their family and property from the flood waters.
In Lansing, the Cedar River was at just over 14 feet this morning and was expected to peak just under 16 feet — below the flood stage of 18 feet.
Storm knocks out transmission line, but outages not expected
While a few outages were reported Monday, Austin Utilities Director of Electric Distribution Tom Tylutki said the biggest damage caused by the storm was to a loop transmission line that feeds substations to the southern portion of town. The line will take about a week to fix, but power will feed from an alternate source and should not affect people.
About 25 Austin Utilities customers experienced power outages, but utilities crews were taking care of the issues. Several lights likely blinked around town last night as crews worked on lines in Lansing due to downed tree branches, which caused smaller outages.
Alliant Energy reported more than 6,000 outages in southern Minnesota and northern Iowa as of this morning.
Along with a few trees and power lines, the storm also knocked out phone lines for police and deputies for about 20 minutes. However, Mower County never lost 911 service, although regular phone lines were down, 911 service automatically switched to backup servers.