HAPPENING NOW: Crews are busy cleaning up in Williamsburg’s, after a storm came through last night. Winds were recorded up to 80 mph in some areas. So far Reporter @ashneighbor has seen downed trees, power lines, and some roofs. More tonight at 5 & 6. pic.twitter.com/u64fCJWfW3
— KWWL (@KWWL) May 17, 2019
WILLIAMSBURG, Iowa (KWWL) — Last night’s storm had winds recorded up to 80 mph which knocked down power poles, trees and left damage scattered throughout the town of Williamsburg.
Signs of Thursday night’s storm could still be seen Friday evening as residents continued the cleanup effort. The wind alone was enough to send some in town to their basements last night.
One retired farmer just outside of Williamsburg awoke to find some of the worst wind damage he’s ever seen on his property.
“The wind just blew and blew and blew, we couldn’t see nothing outside the window, the house was rattling,” said Roberts.
Roberts and his wife were supposed to leave to go camping today but mother nature had other plans.
“This is what we found, the grain bin came from that way, went across and must’ve hit the camper and put a big hole there on the side,” said Roberts.
The grain bin that is now scattered across his farmland had been on the farm, unmoved for about 60 years.
Meanwhile in the heart of town tree limbs and branches lined the streets. Elite Sports, a custom screen printing company were rebuilding their roof after it was ripped off by the wind. A sales manager at Elite said they didn’t have a damage estimate yet but that the building interior was soaked with rainwater.
The City of Marengo and Iowa County Conservation and Roads Department came to town to lend and hand and equipment for tree removal.
Park Ranger, Phil Dejarnatt said while there was some damage at the park, the damage in town was much worse, “Most of the storm damage was here in Williamsburg in town. I know some roofs got ripped off and some bigger trees were uprooted or just straight snapped.”
Dejarnatt and his crew were working to remove a tree that was uprooted by the wind, taking the sidewalk with it. Spring storm season is a good time of year to check if your trees are healthy.
“All it takes is one weak spot and it can go right over,” said Dejarnatt.
The storm knocked out about 14 power poles leaving 1600 in the dark. However, Alliant crews were working through the night and through the day to clean up downed lines and restore power.
Williamsburg Chief of Police, Ray Garringer and his officers have been all hands on deck assisting public works with clean up. Chief Garringer wants residents to be cautious as they clean.
“Stay away from the power lines if you have limbs down that are tangled in the power lines, don’t mess with them wait for Alliant. That’s what we did with the Public Works Department last night.”
Public workers could be seen all around town using chainsaws, chippers and other equipment to ensure all roads were open.
According to Chief Garringer, there were no injuries reported from the storm, which he said they feel luck about considering the strength of the wind.
Alliant estimated the power would be restored to residents by the end of Friday. They also want to caution Iowans to not go within 10 to 20 feet of downed power lines, noting it’s not even safe to drive over them.