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Night of the twisters

NWS receives reports of three tornadoes in area

Family and friends assist Joan Hartsook clean up debris after a tornado ripped past her house, 1751 Clover Ave., west of Creston. Hartsook was sitting in the front window of her house when she heard the radio announce a tornado watch and within minutes it was hit.
Family and friends assist Joan Hartsook clean up debris after a tornado ripped past her house, 1751 Clover Ave., west of Creston. Hartsook was sitting in the front window of her house when she heard the radio announce a tornado watch and within minutes it was hit.

As rain blanketed the area Tuesday, much of the Creston News Advertiser was impacted by severe weather.

The National Weather Service in Des Moines received reports of three potential tornadoes in the area Tuesday – in Ringgold County between Clearfield and Diagonal, in Union County between Cromwell and Creston and in Adair County, starting in the southeast part of the county and traveling toward Stuart.

Another EF-1 tornado was reported and confirmed Monday in rural Clarke County near Woodburn, with wind speeds estimated at 100 to 110 mph and one minor injury reported.

“It’s absolutely abnormal to have tornadoes like this in October,” said Kurt Kotenberg, meteorologist with the NWS in Des Moines. “Certainly not unheard of, but typically June and July are our peak months for tornadoes. It’s definitely not normal that we’re getting this many tornadoes in October. It’s not the first time it’s happened, it’s just very rare that it’s happened.”

NWS in Des Moines received reports of tornado damage between Cromwell and Creston Tuesday evening.

Kotenberg said the NWS is in the process of trying to gather more information on the damages in order to determine wind speeds and what category of tornado touched down.

The potential tornado between Clearfield and Diagonal, the first in the area Tuesday, appears to have impacted open fields, limiting damage.

According to Kotenberg, a third tornado started northeast of Creston in southeastern Adair County and went through the eastern part of the state to around Stuart, where it dissipated near Interstate 80.

“We did have a video sent to us of the tornado a couple miles south of Stuart,” Kotenberg said. “We’re pretty sure that’s going to be a confirmed tornado.”

Until receiving more information on damages in the area, Kotenberg said NWS meteorologists will be unable to determine wind speeds associated with the tornadoes. But, he said, preliminary reports indicate the tornadoes will likely be classified as EF-0 or EF-1.

In addition to the tornadoes, the area was swamped with rain.

Kotenberg said radar estimates between 3/4 inch to an inch of rain from Blockton to Creston. Mount Ayr received only about 1/4 inch of rain, indicating higher rainfall amounts to the west.

Since Oct. 5, the area has received approximately 4.64 inches of rain.

“Almost 5 inches in the past week, which is well above normal,” Kotenberg said. “To put that in perspective, since we have climatological data for Des Moines, the normal precipitation in Des Moines is 2.64 inches for the whole month of October, so we’re several inches above normal. I would assume it wouldn’t be too far off in southern Iowa from that Des Moines estimate.”

Kotenberg said the weather pattern is now going to completely switch.

The rest of the week will be filled with more fall-like weather, with lows in the mid 30s and highs in the upper 40s and low 50s.

“It will be more frost and freeze that will be the next weather concern,” Kotenberg said.

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