Wind damage is most significant impact in Allamakee County from July 19 storm

Businesses south of Waukon experience damage ... Area businesses located along Highway 9 just south of Waukon experienced damage from the Wednesday, July 19 storm, most of the damage caused by high winds reported to have gusted higher than 70 miles per hour. Pictured above, a warehouse shed at Builders FirstSource (formerly Pro-Build) just south of Waukon had a portion of its roof torn off by winds, much of the debris blowing across Highway 9 into the Waukon Power Sports property. The adjacent properties of Waukon Power Sports and Bodensteiner Implement on the south side of Highway 9 also experienced some damage, with some of the Waukon Power Sports trailers on display (pictured below) being toppled and blown into a fence, along with other debris, on the Bodensteiner Implement property.

Area crops take a beating as well ... Crop areas located mainly in the southern half of Allamakee County suffered some wind damage during the Wednesday, July 19 storms, being bent over and/or having leaves shredded by the high winds. Area ag officials feel a majority of the crops will "bounce back" from the wind damage.

Wednesday evening, July 19, a storm producing high winds and heavy rain blew through the tri-state area, leaving a path of damage in its wake. According to the National Weather Service, the storm ultimately produced a confirmed F-1 tornado that caused severe damage in the Clayton County town of McGregor and ultimately produced wind gusts well in excess of 70 mph throughout the region, including in Allamakee County, that resulted in damage such as that pictured below.

Allamakee County Emergency Management Coordinator Corey Snitker reports that sirens were blown in Waukon due to the high wind gusts, and he says the southern half of the county experienced the worst wind damage, noting that the Rossville area appeared to be the hardest hit. The storm ultimately resulted in Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds making a disaster declaration for the four northeast Iowa counties of Allamakee, Clayton, Fayette and Winneshiek.

Rural Waukon man rescued from collapsed barn ... 

At 6:28 p.m. Wednesday, July 19, the Allamakee County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a barn that had blown down (pictured above) at 862 Autumn Road about eight miles southeast of Waukon, trapping an individual inside. Dennis Deal, age 67, of Waukon was in the barn doing chores when the barn was blown over by high winds. Deal was pinned beneath the collapsed barn but was able to be located by first responders and was extricated from the building. He was transported by ambulance to Veterans Memorial Hospital in Waukon and then air lifted to Mayo Hospital in Rochester, MN, where his family reported he underwent surgery to repair his pelvis broken in two places and he is currently listed in good condition with hopes of being able to return to swing bed in Waukon for continued recovery. Assisting at the scene was the Waukon Fire Department, Veterans Memorial Ambulance Service and Allamakee County Sheriff’s Office. Standard photo by Sara Aleckson-Melcher.

Waukon Area Fire Protection District Chief Dave Martin said Deal was able to call 911 with his cell phone from the spot where he was pinned, but lost connection. His son, Matthew, ended up calling again a few minutes later. Once crews arrived, they were able to locate Deal with help from his son by the sound of his voice and realized that it was two steel girders spanning the building that had Deal pinned to the floor of the structure, along with a great deal of other building materials that needed to be cut through and removed in order to reach Deal. Deal's family says he was trapped between two large building beams that ultimately saved his life by preventing him from being completely crushed by the fallen barn. Chief Martin said the crew took careful consideration of each step it took in order to not put any further pressure from the structure on Deal's trapped body or causing him any further harm, stabilizing certain areas as they proceeded. Ultimately, the crew had to cut both sides of the steel girders in order to free Deal, with the entire process taking about an hour to complete but Deal maintaining consciousness and communication with his rescuers the entire time.

"We want to thank Emergency Services for the excellent job they did, and the family and neighbors for being right there to help," said Sandy Deal, wife of Dennis. "This community is truly amazing. We couldn’t have made it through this without family, friends, neighbors and community." She further reports that two calves died and one cow was injured in the barn collapse, along with damage to a skid loader that will likely still be functional. The Deal family also said they found round hay bales of theirs blown over fences into neighboring fields and calf huts blown as far as a quarter-mile away.

Effigy Mounds National Monument begins to recover from July 19 storm ... 

The National Park Service (NPS) has reopened the Visitor Center and some hiking trails at Effigy Mounds National Monument, located three miles north of Marquette, following a severe storm during the evening of Wednesday, July 19. All buildings in the park escaped damage as a result of the storm, but power was disrupted for a day. Crews spent Thursday, July 20 assessing damage throughout the 2,526 acre park and clearing fallen trees and limbs along the park’s most popular hiking trails. “We’re thrilled to have the Visitor Center open again,” said Effigy Mounds superintendent Jim Nepstad. “We’re saddened that we have had to temporarily close some of our hiking trails, but after looking around yesterday, there was no doubt it had to happen. The storm did some very significant damage to trees in some parts of the park. Fortunately, damage around the mound areas was relatively light, so once trails are opened, the park will be as spectacular as ever.”

The two most popular hiking trails in the park - the Fire Point Loop and the Yellow River Boardwalk - received a lot of attention from park crews Thursday. By the end of the day, all of the boardwalk was cleared and open. Most of the Fire Point Loop is open as well, although the section between the Little Bear mound and Fire Point will remain closed until a problematic tree hanging over the trail can be addressed by a specialist. Until further notice, the entire Hanging Rock trail and all trails in the South Unit are closed to public access. Daily 10 a.m. Ranger-led hikes will be replaced with 20-30 minute Ranger talks until the entire Fire Point Loop is open and safe for the public. For updates on the status of trails and Ranger programming, visit the park’s website at For more information call 563-873-3491, extension 123. Submitted photo.


Rate this article: 
Average: 1 (1 vote)