Thunderstorms leave behind damage in Ottumwa

Thunderstorms across southeast Iowa left behind quite a bit of damage Saturday afternoon.

A torrential downpour and strong winds caused damage to many Ottumwa homes and vehicles.

Ottumwa Public Information Officer Tom Rodgers said an estimated 4,000 electric customers in Ottumwa were without power Saturday night. It could take 18 to 24 hours for power to be restored. Most likely, power will come back on in Ottumwa homes one by one.

Officials are working on setting up emergency shelters with the Red Cross for people on life support or with medical issues just in case it takes longer to regain power.

"We estimated about 400 trees and power lines down throughout the city with most of them being on the south side. So we encourage people not to be driving around that area. We encourage people with trees in their yard to remove them as best as they can," said Ottumwa Police Chief Jim Clark.

A tree was completely uprooted and landed just feet away from Patty Woodslayer's home. "We had some branches down. I wondered why all the neighbors were in my yard milling around and the neighbor next door came over and he pointed. I didn't see this tree that went across my yard, tore up the sidewalk, made a big hole where the roof used to be and sort went over the garage. Once things calmed down people were out and about looking at the damage," Woodslayer said.

Wapello County Supervisor Steve Siegel told KTVO that the Chief Wapello statue on top of the Wapello County Courthouse became loose in the storm. A crane and firefighters were called to the scene and removed the statue so no one would get hurt.

City storm update