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Cleaning up the mess Residents cut up downed trees; some towns still without power

The storn that blew through Iowa caused damage throughout Washington County communities and other surrounding areas. THe road signs on the west side of Kalona was broken from the wind. (Caitlin Yamada/ The Union)
The storn that blew through Iowa caused damage throughout Washington County communities and other surrounding areas. THe road signs on the west side of Kalona was broken from the wind. (Caitlin Yamada/ The Union)
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When entering Wellman, it may not look any different, but a glance at the towns’ side roads tells the story of a powerful storm’s aftermath.

Bark, leaves, sticks and the occasional wire littered the roadways on Monday afternoon. Residents could be seen raking the lawns, kids playing with sticks, and some individuals sitting outside enjoying the cooler weather.

The rumbles of chainsaws and generators could be heard echoing around town. Piles of tree branches and leaves lined the streets in front of most houses in north Wellman, some with massive tree branches waiting to be cut up.

Damage around the city ranged from fallen branches to blown transformers.

With only a few city workers to clean the roadways and clear debris, many community members stepped up to help.

On the southern end of the golf course laid a massive tree smashed down on the fairway.

Residents brought chainsaws, rakes and UTVs to help clear the tree and other fallen branches.

Workers traveled house to house fixing blown transformers, but Wellman still had no power Tuesday morning.

The scene in Wellman is similar to many communities in the surrounding area after a short, but intense storm walloped the state.

Washington saw less damage with only a few instances of trees down and a few power lines pulled down.

Residents in Kalona, Riverside, and Washington experienced power outages as well. As of 3 p.m. Tuesday, the number of customers without power in Washington County was down to 292. Earlier in the day there were about 2,000 customers without power in the county.

Alliant Energy reported more than 200,000 customers statewide were without power midday Tuesday.

“The storm created damage beyond what we’ve seen before, and it could take several days before the majority of services are restored,” said Terry Kouba, senior vice president at Alliant Energy and president of the Iowa Utility Company. “For some customers, especially those living in more rural areas, it could be longer.”

An Alliant Energy press release said power will first be restored to essential services and facilities such as hospitals, nursing homes, fire and police departments, and water systems. Service to neighborhoods, industries and businesses will be restored systematically, according to the Alliant release.

Customers with a downed electrical connection on their house will need to contract with an electrician to have the equipment fixed. The pole to the meter on customer homes is considered customer-owned. It can and should be fixed as you await power restoration as Alliant Energy cannot reconnect power to any damaged equipment due to safety concerns.