April 29, 2014

Straight-line winds slam into area Sunday

The Oskaloosa Herald

---- — OSKALOOSA — A severe thunderstorm with straight-line winds slammed into Mahaska County Sunday afternoon and left a wake of destruction in its path.

The National Weather Service in Des Moines reported that the storm had straight-line winds of between 70 and 80 mph at 3:20 p.m. Sunday. The storm also dumped .94 inches of rain on Oskaloosa, the National Weather Service reported.

The National Weather Service storm damage survey stated there were no injuries or fatalities in Oskaloosa as a result of the storm. The survey also stated that a Mahaska Health Partnership facility was damaged due to the storm.

Mahaska Health West sustained roof damage from the storm.

“The wind caught the roof and pealed away the pitched portion of the roof,” MHP CEO Jay Christensen said.

The building suffered “significant water damage,” he said.

There were no injuries from the storm. A damage estimate as yet to be determined, Christensen said.

The Mahaska Health West building was primarily used as office space. Home-base health services and home-based hospice care offices were housed in the building. MHP staff also do some in-building behavioral health services, but the damage will not impact the level of care, Christensen said.

“Patients shouldn’t know a difference,” he said.

Christensen said there was a “great community effort” for the clean-up of the damage. The Oskaloosa Fire Department and New Sharon Fire Department helped move many things and Wal-Mart provided plastic storage containers, he added.

No other portions of the MHP campus sustained damage, Christensen said.

There were reports of tree limbs and power lines down throughout the county, Mahaska County Emergency Management Coordinator Jamey Robinson said.

There was a strong path of damage from southwest of Beacon to up past the hospital, Robinson said.

Robinson said that some people had complained that the storm sirens did not sound. Robinson said the storm did not meet the criteria for siren activation until it had hit.

Robinson encouraged people to sign up for Nixle storm warning service. People can sign up for it at mahaskaready.com.

“We knew about the storm four days ago,” Robinson said. “People should plan ahead.”

Robinson said there there are scattered areas across the county that still did not have power as of early Monday afternoon.

People were cleaning up storm damage all morning Monday.

Dave and Tammy Scholtus were cleaning up downed tree limbs in their yard at 2066 Indian Way Monday morning. Tammy said they and some neighbors began the process of cutting up tree limbs and hauling them away at 9:30 a.m.

“We’ve got five more trees” to clean up, Tammy said.

Dave also said the roof on their home suffered storm damage.

Both Dave and Tammy believe that the winds that hit their home came from several directions.

“We’ve got stuff that was south to north and east to west,” Tammy said.

The damage their property suffered was unprecedented.

“We never had anything like it before and we don’t want it again,” Tammy said.

Their neighbor Jerry Van Zomeren, of 2062 Indian Way, had a porch on his home collapse around 3:30 p.m. Sunday.

“I’ve never seen a wind like that before,” Van Zomeren said of Sunday’s storm. Nobody was injured due to the storm, he added.

Herald Editor Duane Nollen can be reached by email at oskynews@oskyherald.com