The area had only seen a handful of watches and warnings until Wednesday night when morning storms struck igniting the issuance of five Thunderstorm Watches and Warnings in the broadcast area. One and one tenth inches of rain fell at the KIOW Studios in Forest City with some locations in town receiving as much as 1.3 inches. Britt spotters reported close to an inch of rain and Lake Mills spotters reported .95 of an inch of rain. Buffalo Center residents reported tree damage in some locations.
The second wave of storms dropped a little more rain on the area, but the worst of the storms was off to the east past I-35. At 6:01 pm, trained spotters reported a tornado on the ground near the Avenue of the Saints in Nora Springs. The National Weather Service had predicted the stronger of the two systems would strike in the late afternoon and early evening. For the broadcast area, a Tornado Watch was issued until 9 pm. However, the bulk of the activity was east of I-35.
Not only was there a tornado spotted near Nora Springs, but Rockford residents got a second scare in less than five years when a tornado was spotted near them. The last time Rockford was victimized by a tornado was nearly five years ago when a storm system which initially began in Forest City, went through Rockford and destroyed the baseball and softball complex. This time, the tornado tracked just south of the avenue north of Rockford.
At 6:09 pm, trained spotters and Charles City Firefighters confirmed a third vortex located near Charles City moving east at 35 mph. According to the Charles City Police Department, sirens were sounded to alert residents of the oncoming danger. Locations such as Ionia, Boyd, Chickasaw, the New Hampton Airport, Bassett and Highway 18 were in its projected path. Hail fell in many locations along with very heavy rains. Afterwards, damage assessments began and are ongoing.
National Weather Service Meteorologist Brooke Hagendorf in Johnston says that they have received lots of photos, videos, and evidence reports of the activity not just in the area, but in locations throughout the northern region of the state. The hope is to classify the size and scope of the tornadoes that hit.
There have been no reports of fatalities as of yet.
National Weather Service Meteorologist Tom Philip of the Davenport office stated that while the area did have confirmed tornadoes on the ground, the eastern portions of Iowa were also hit. Only in these cases, there may have been straight line winds involved.
Crops in the stricken areas locally have been leveled and there may have been damage to hog confinements.