Raging winds made for some wild hours in the Storm Lake area late Friday into Saturday morning, with plenty of damage but no reports of injuries.
A wind measurement in one of the Enron wind turbine towers near Storm Lake showed a top sustained wind speed of 110 miles per hour during the storm. Company officials aren't commenting on damages, pending potential insurance situations. The turbines are programmed to shut themselves down in cases of high wind to prevent the blades from spinning too fast for the mechanism.
"There was stuff flying around all over. I would say that we were easily seeing some gusts of 70 miles per hour if not better," Buena Vista County Sheriff Chuck Eddy said.
"Quite a few hog confinements and some cattle buildings lost their roofs. One building south of Highway 7 and 70th Street blew apart and a couple hundred head of hogs were set loose. We tried to round the animals up, but I'm afraid at least a few were killed," Eddy said. The site was being rented by Keith Reetz.
A barn was reportedly blown down between Storm Lake and Newell.
Damage to utility wires resulted in a fire at a light pole near the intersection of Highways 7 and 71, stopping traffic for a time. A second fire was reported in a vacant building on a farmstead in the Peterson area of northwest Buena Vista County, Eddy said.
All over the county, high winds snapped off traffic signs and blew down trees. County crews were still working Monday to replace posts.
In Storm Lake, the winds took their toll as well.
Read the rest of this article in the 4/10/01 Pilot Tribune.