The storm of the summer: Strong winds slam central, southern Grundy County

A view from a Beaman street. (Robert Maharry photo)
Robert Maharry
The Grundy Register

It may have lasted less than an hour, but the effects of Monday afternoon’s ‘derecho’ storm were still being felt well into the following day, leaving thousands of Iowans without power and damaging homes in business from Grundy County to well south of Interstate 80.


Locally, Beaman, Conrad, Grundy Center, Morrison and Reinbeck saw the worst of the storm (which included wind gusts of close to 100 miles per hour), and the northern half of the county was relatively unscathed by comparison. At press time, Beaman and Conrad were still without power, and Sheriff Rick Penning indicated that midnight on Wednesday was the earliest they could expect Alliant to restore electricity. Most Grundy Center residents and businesses had regained power by Monday night or Tuesday morning, and as of Wednesday morning, power had not been restored in Conrad or Beaman. 


In Grundy Center, police chief Doug Frost reported trees and power lines down, and a fire started at a home near the Abels Funeral Home due to what was believed to be a lightning strike, causing the fire department to shut down 4th Street at the intersection of G Avenue temporarily.


There have been no injuries reported in the county as a result of the storm, and Green Products, with a pet products location on the west end of Conrad and its main plant about 4 ½ miles northwest of town, suffered the greatest damage among businesses.


Conrad Mayor Jeff Martin has been in close contact with Alliant and told The Grundy Register that they’re attempting to locate the issues.


“They’re struggling with this, but I’m confident that they’re doing the best they can,” Martin said. “It looks pretty tough, obviously. We lost a lot of trees and a lot of limbs. I have not heard of any injury, so that’s very positive.”


Governor Kim Reynolds did not include Grundy County in a 13-county disaster declaration that included Marshall and Tama Counties on Tuesday. Martin praised residents for their resolve in cleaning up the wreckage.


“It’s what Conrad does,” Martin said. “We’ll get it taken care of, and we’ll get past it. But for the moment, it looks pretty rough. It’s not what we’re used to.”


Green snap corn could be seen all across the affected areas. Gas shortages as a result of convenience store closures led fuel seekers to flock to Grundy Center on Tuesday morning, where lines were backed up well onto G Avenue and drivers brought their own canisters to purchase extra gasoline.


The storm ravaged huge portions of the Midwest, including Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska and Indiana, and hit major population centers like Des Moines, Cedar Rapids and Chicago. Initial estimates pegged the number of Iowans without power at 400,000 on Monday.


At press time, Grundy County Emergency Management Coordinator Roger Carr could not be reached for comment.


View more photos here


UPDATE: As of Wednesday, August 12, Governor Reynolds has added Grundy County to the disaster declaration. 



The Grundy Register

601 G. Avenue - P.O. Box 245
Grundy Center, IA 50638
Telephone: 1-319-824-6958
Fax: 1-800-340-0805

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