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Winds, thunderstorms whip Eastern Iowa

Power out in some places; no injuries reported

Residents work to cut apart a tree that fell on a house at 213 Hanover Rd SW in Cedar Rapids on Friday. The tree did not enter the house, but knocked down its gutter.(Sam Lane/The Gazette)
Residents work to cut apart a tree that fell on a house at 213 Hanover Rd SW in Cedar Rapids on Friday. The tree did not enter the house, but knocked down its gutter.(Sam Lane/The Gazette)

The storms that tore through Eastern Iowa on Friday night appeared not to cause any injuries despite dozens of reports of downed power lines and trees.

Representatives from several sheriff's departments in area counties said they dealt with several trees and power lines that had fallen, but said no one was injured as a result of the storm.

A number of trees fell into area houses after strong winds and lightning struck the area. A few small fires or sparks began in the area as a result of the downed power lines.

More than 20,000 utility customers were without power in Linn, Benton, Iowa, Johnson and Jones counties at the peak of the storm. An Alliant Energy spokesman estimated at least 30 power poles were down across Cedar Rapids and more than 45 trees affected power lines.

Winds in the area measured over 90 mph and torrential downpours drenched the area. Branches and traffic equipment were strewn throughout many Cedar Rapids streets.

On Saturday morning, several residents began to clean-up after the storm.   Robert Otte of Marengo said friends and neighbors helped him remove a massive 80-year-old tree in just over four hours.

"We wouldn't have been able to do it without them," Otte said.  "That's just Iowa."

Otte's wife, Denise, was inside the family home when the tree came crashing down.

"It scared us pretty good," Denise Otte said.  "I was sitting with my daughter and I just saw green."

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Residents in Victor also reported widespread damage, including many downed trees.  Longtime resident Curt Reidel said his home sustained damage after an old tree was blown onto it.

"The tree was probably planted by whoever owned the house before us," Reidel said.  "We've been here since 1967."

The storm was one of the worst to blow through the area in decades, according to Reidel.

An estimated 200 people were still without power as of 9:00 p.m. Saturday.

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