June 19, 2024

Wild winds wallop western Jasper County

Severe weather hits Prairie City, western Jasper County in early morning storm

In what is starting to feel like an endless cycle, Jasper County residents were once again cleaning up from a severe weather event that rolled through in the early hours of May 24. The storm, which uprooted trees, inverted power lines and left a layer of debris to be picked up, came just days after torrential rains caused flooding in the streets and pushed rivers out of their banks.

“The recent severe weather has significantly impacted the west side of Jasper County,” Jasper County Emergency Management Director Jamey Robinson said. “We understand the inconvenience and difficulties posed by this situation and appreciate your patience and cooperation. Please be assured that updates will be provided as we receive more information.”

According to the National Weather Service, a large low pressure system moving from the eastern Dakotas into western Minnesota spawned thunderstorms in Nebraska late May 23. That storm swept across Iowa in the early morning of May 24. Initially, a few

thunderstorms produced large hail. Then as the main squall line moved through, the threat transitioned to damaging wind gusts and isolated tornadoes.

In Prairie City, 1.5-inch hail was recorded at approximately 5:22 a.m. Not long after at 5:44 a.m. 75 mph wind gusts blew through causing substantial damage to structures such as barns and sheds.

“In light of the new damages from the recent storm, we urge all citizens to report any damages they encounter,” Robinson said. “This will assist us in addressing the situation more effectively.”

To report damages, visit the county EMA website at www.jasperema-hls.org

Colfax, Mingo and Newton also saw wind gusts topping out at 84 mph at approximately 5:30 a.m., causing similar damage. Central Jasper County already had its fill of weather with flash flooding on May 21 that caused homes and properties, especially in Kellogg, to take on water.

AccuWeather reported in March that spring could provide more severe weather, in part because of El Niño. While El Niño typically leads to below-average tornado and hail reports in the Plains, it was expected to weaken throughout the early spring. The weakened El Niño could allow for an uptick in activity from April into May. Also, according to AccuWeather, the water in the Gulf of Mexico might heat up quickly during the middle and latter parts of the spring, which is one of the reasons why May was highlighted as a critical month for tornadoes.