Storm leaves devastation in Midwest

  • Downed trees and other debris cover front yards in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, after a powerful storm moved through Iowa on Monday, Aug. 10, 2020. (Liz Martin/The Gazette via AP) Liz Martin

  • A bus displays "I'm not in service" as it drives along Clinton Street past a downed traffic signal after a severe storm Monday, Aug. 10, 2020, in Iowa City, Iowa. (Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen via AP) Joseph Cress

  • Residents help clear a fallen tree from an intersection after a severe storm, Monday, Aug. 10, 2020, in Iowa City, Iowa. (Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen via AP) Joseph Cress

  • Forrest Marshall, the breakfast crew chief at a Wendy's, picks up letters from a sign that was toppled in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, after a powerful storm moved through the state Monday, Aug. 10, 2020. Marshall said he had just finished putting up new lettering on the sign when the storm moved in. "I just thank God I was down (off the ladder)," Marshall said. (Liz Martin/The Gazette via AP) Liz Martin

  • Part of a tree that had split at the trunk lies on a road in Oak Park, Ill., while also appearing not to have landed on a car parked on the road, after a severe storm moved through the Chicago area Monday, Aug. 10, 2020. (AP Photo/Dave Zelio) Dave Zelio

  • Neighbors clear a downed tree along Logan Boulevard on Monday, Aug. 10, 2020, after a large storm passed through Chicago. (Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune via AP) Brian Cassella

  • Neighbors use a hand saw to clear a tree blocking Kedzie Avenue in the Logan Square neighborhood of Chicago on Monday, Aug. 10, 2020, after a strong storm passed through the city. (Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune via AP) Brian Cassella

  • The steeple at College Church in Wheaton, Ill. was toppled during a storm, Monday, in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. Daily Herald via AP

  • Coe College left tackle Joshua Robles clears trees with other members of the Coe College football team from campus sidewalks in Cedar Rapids after a powerful storm with straight-line winds moved through Iowa on Monday, Aug. 10, 2020. (Liz Martin/The Gazette via AP) Liz Martin

  • A truck is covered by fallen trees in Cedar Rapids after a powerful storm with straight-line winds moved through Iowa on Monday, Aug. 10, 2020. (Liz Martin/The Gazette via AP) Liz Martin

  • A group of neighbors surveys the damage to vehicles on their block after a severe thunderstorm battered Chicago neighborhoods, Monday, Aug. 10, 2020. (Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times/Chicago Sun-Times via AP) Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

  • A light pole fell and smashed the front of a vehicle near Wrightwood Ave. and Greenview Ave. after a severe thunderstorm battered Chicago neighborhoods, Monday, Aug. 10, 2020. (Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times/Chicago Sun-Times via AP) Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

  • A severe thunderstorm battered Chicago neighborhoods, Monday, Aug. 10, 2020. (Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times/Chicago Sun-Times via AP) Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

  • A woman steps over a fallen tree branch that's blocking a sidewalk after a severe thunderstorm battered Chicago neighborhoods, Monday, Aug. 10, 2020. (Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times/Chicago Sun-Times via AP) Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

  • Two men survey the damage to their cars after a severe thunderstorm battered Chicago neighborhoods, Monday, Aug. 10, 2020. (Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times/Chicago Sun-Times via AP) Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

  • A downed tree blocks a roadway in Chicago's Lakeview neighborhood on Monday, Aug. 10, 2020. A rare storm packing 100 mph winds and with power similar to an inland hurricane swept across the Midwest on Monday, blowing over trees, flipping vehicles, causing widespread property damage, and leaving hundreds of thousands without power as it moved through Chicago and into Indiana and Michigan. (AP Photo/Tom Berman) Tom Berman

  • A downed tree limb blocks a roadway in Chicago's Lakeview neighborhood on Monday, Aug. 10, 2020. A rare storm packing 100 mph winds and with power similar to an inland hurricane swept across the Midwest on Monday, blowing over trees, flipping vehicles, causing widespread property damage, and leaving hundreds of thousands without power as it moved through Chicago and into Indiana and Michigan. (AP Photo/Tom Berman) Tom Berman

  • Pieces of the Buccaneer Arena roof litter the parking lot after a strong thunderstorm with high winds blew through the Des Moines metro on Monday, Aug. 10. 2020, in Urbandale, Iowa. (Kelsey Kremer/The Des Moines Register via AP) Kelsey Kremer

  • A storm with gusts more than 80 mph knocked down a tree, which crushed about four cars in Des Moines, Iowa on Monday, Aug. 10, 2020. No one was injured. (Nick Coltrain/The Des Moines Register via AP ) Nick Coltrain

  • A group of people survey the damage to Buccaneer Arena from the building's lobby after a strong thunderstorm with high winds blew through the Des Moines metro on Monday, Aug. 10. 2020, in Urbandale, Iowa. (Kelsey Kremer/The Des Moines Register via AP ) Kelsey Kremer

Associated Press
Published: 8/11/2020 5:56:57 PM

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Hundreds of thousands across the Midwest remained without power on Tuesday after a powerful storm packing 100 mph winds battered the region a day earlier, causing widespread damage and killing a 73-year-old woman found clutching a young boy in her storm-battered mobile home.

The storm known as a derecho tore from eastern Nebraska across Iowa and parts of Wisconsin and Illinois, blowing over trees, flipping vehicles and causing widespread property and crop damage. The storm left downed trees and power lines that blocked roadways in Chicago and its suburbs. After leaving Chicago, the most potent part of the storm system moved over north central Indiana.

In Iowa, three of the state’s eight mobile coronavirus testing sites — in Marshalltown, Cedar Rapids, and Davenport — were temporarily closed Tuesday after suffering storm damage.

In Fort Wayne, Indiana, Isabel E. Atencio died at a hospital after firefighters pulled her from debris inside her mobile home after high winds rolled it onto its side Monday night, officials said. Firefighters found her under debris inside her toppled trailer and discovered that she was clutching a 5-year-old boy believed to be her grandson, said Adam O’Connor, deputy chief of the Fort Wayne Fire Department. The boy had minor injuries.

“They had to stabilize the trailer, crawl inside the trailer, find the two victims and bring them out,” O’Connor said.

“It’s awful. I was thinking about that all last night,” he said.

He said it took firefighters 14 minutes to remove the woman from the debris and lift her through the door of the trailer — now on its roof because it was toppled onto its side — in an area of Fort Wayne’s northeast side where there was widespread storm damage, including damaged trees.

A derecho is not quite a hurricane. It has no eye and its winds come across in a line. But the damage it is likely to do spread over such a large area is more like an inland hurricane than a quick more powerful tornado, according to Patrick Marsh, science support chief at the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma.

In western Oklahoma, a BNSF Railways train derailment was “likely” caused by wind gusts of up to 70 mph, National Weather Service meteorologist Phillip Ware said. The strong winds and the derailment both occurred about 8:30 p.m. Monday, Ware said. The train was traveling from Amarillo, Texas, to northwestern Ohio when 16 cars derailed, according to BNSF spokesperson Courtney Wallace.

“There are no injuries to the crew and none of the derailed cars contain hazmat. We have crews on site working to restore both main tracks. The current time for reopening is undetermined,” Wallace said in a statement.

In Iowa, officials reported roofs torn off of homes and buildings, vehicles blown off of roads and hit by trees, and people hurt by flying debris. So far, dozens of injuries but no fatalities in Iowa have been reported.

Farmers reported that some grain bins were destroyed and corn fields were flattened by the storm, and Iowa officials were assessing the total damage to its powerful agriculture industry.

“While we’re unable to quantify the number of acres lost at this time, we’re hearing of widespread crop damage,” said Keely Coppess, a spokeswoman for the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship. “We’re also aware of commercial and on-farm grain storage losses, which may affect storage capacity during harvest.”

About 150,000 customers in Iowa and another 50,000 in the Illinois Quad Cities region were without power, MidAmerican Energy reported Tuesday morning.

“Due to the extent of the damages, power restoration efforts could take multiple days,” the company warned.

Iowa’s other big electric utility, Alliant Energy, reported that more than 200,000 customers in Iowa had no power as of Tuesday morning and gave no timeline for restoring service.

Power and Internet outages were widespread in the state’s three largest metropolitan areas, of Des Moines, Cedar Rapids and Davenport, where residents continued to clean up tree damage.

The Iowa Department of Transportation on Tuesday closed eight service centers that were without power or phone service.

Mediacom said Tuesday that it was working to restore internet service that went down in many Iowa and Illinois communities as a result of the storm.

In Wisconsin, WE Energies reported that about 4,200 customers remained without power on Tuesday morning.




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