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Wind & Rain Rip Through County

By Staff | Aug 25, 2011

TREE DAMAGE was extensive in the Northwest and Southeast sections of Emmetsburg after the early Tuesday morning storm. Above, trees in the yard of the Henderson home at 506 Monroe; below left, the new structure at the Roberts property on North Grand toppled in the wind, leaving only the roof intact; below right, Mike Knight adds limbs to a growing mound at Five Island Golf where 15 trees were destroyed.

The rain was welcomed the wind, maybe not.

In the middle of the night/early Tuesday morning, winds whipped through parts of Palo Alto County, leaving downed trees in its wake. There were reports of 75 mile-per-hour wind gusts near Whittemore, but there were no official estimates for the winds that tore through Emmetsburg.

Crop damage was reported in areas north of Emmetsburg, in the Ayrshire area, and in eastern Palo Alto County. Tree damage was extensive.

Rain, accompanying the winds, was also spotty. In Emmetsburg, reports varied from half an inch of rain to just over an inch. But how do you measure rain that is blowing sideways in the wind? At the height of the storm, in the center of Emmetsburg, reports indicate that the rain was so heavy there was zero visibility for a brief time.

Tree limbs fell on lines, causing all types of outages throughout the community of Emmetsburg. Power was being restored by Mid American Energy, telephone lines were put back into service by Windstream and cable television was being restored by Mediacom.

“This storm surprises me,” said Bill Dickey, Emmetsburg Public Works Director. “Tree damage is worse than the storms we had last year in July and last December. Those storms had weeded out most of the older trees, we thought.”

Mike Knight, Course Superintendent at Five Island Golf, agreed.

“This storm was the hardest on us,” he said. “We lost 15 full trees in this storm.”

Fallen trees and tree branches were blocking the right-of-way and city streets throughout the community. Emmetsburg street crews were on the job at 3 a.m. Tuesday, clearing the streets so people could drive. The majority of city streets were passable by 7 a.m.

“There was damage throughout town, but the heaviest damage seemed to be in the Northwest and Southeast parts of town,” said Dickey.

Dickey reported that MidAmerican crews came from other locations to assist in restoring power. Aspland, the tree service that assists MidAmerican, was also on the scene.

At Five Island Golf, maple trees, walnut trees, cottonwood, a plum and an apple were downed by the winds.

“We lost a lot of branches, but we also lost 15 full trees,” said Knight. “Some of the trees that fell were relatively young, so this storm was worse than last year in that respect.”