OTTUMWA — A major windstorm in Ottumwa did significant damage to the city on Saturday, forcing the Chief Wapello statue from the Wapello County Courthouse.
There are no known injuries directly from the storm at this time, according to authorities. But a driver who slowed to look at damage was rear-ended by another vehicle and injured. Authorities ask that people please avoid blocking traffic or otherwise putting themselves at risk.
That includes walking or driving near downed power lines. While many may indeed be dead lines, always assume that a power line is live.
The storm also blew down numerous trees across the city, blocking roads and knocking out power for much of the city. Appanoose Rapids on on Main Street near the Jefferson Street Viaduct reported it will be closed indefinitely after losing much of its roof.
Trained spotters reported numerous limbs in excess of six inches in diameter down in Ottumwa, according to the National Weather Service Des Moines office. Wind gusts measured at more than 60 mph west of Ottumwa at 4:32 p.m. Saturday and the city's airport reported a 62 mph gust.
Winds also knocked down a light pole in the city.
Alliant Energy was telling customers power outages could last 18-24 hours on Saturday night, according to some residents. The website did not list a time when power might be restored for Ottumwa.
The Courier is, like most residents, struggling with the effects of the power outage, but we will have updates as we are able.