'Extreme winds' cause power outages, blow vehicles off roads

MidAmerican customers in Des Moines and the Quad Cities also losing power

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IOWA CITY — Wind gusts Friday reached levels in excess of 60 miles per hour, blowing vehicles off the highway and causing power outages.

Linn County Sheriff Brian Gardner said, as of 3:15 p.m. Friday, wind gusts had caused four separate incidents where vehicles had been tipped over or blown off the road by high winds.

Gardner said accidents occurred on Highway 1 between Ellison Road and Linn Ridge Road, on Interstate 380 and in two places on Highway 13 — near Cottage Grove Parkway and near Blaine’s Crossing Road.

“The wind is blowing these vehicles over as they’re driving down the road,” he said. “With high-profile vehicles especially, I would stay off the roadway.”

Jessica Brooks, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in the Quad Cities, said her office had received several reports of wind damage throughout the day, with gusts as high as 62 miles per hour reported in Moline and Davenport and 63 miles per hour in Iowa City.

“We kind of use that 60 miles per hour as a threshold, that’s when you start to see damage because of the winds,” Books said.

The National Weather Service issued a high wind warning for much of northeast Iowa until 6 p.m. Friday, with winds expected to taper off throughout the night.

Ashton Newman, media relations representative with MidAmerican Energy, said high winds knocked out two transmission poles south of Iowa City at shortly after noon on Friday, impacting 10,030 Iowa City customers.

All services had been restored by about 1:40 p.m., she said.

“The winds we’re having today aren’t normal winds, they are pretty extreme,” Newman said. “Sometimes when we do get extreme winds like that, they can bring down wires or poles or cause tree limbs to fall into wires.”

While Iowa City was the most impacted, MidAmerican customers in Des Moines and the Quad Cities also losing power. About 3,200 customers in the Quad Cities were still without power as of 2 p.m. Friday.

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