An intense dust storm hit northwest Iowa in the Little Rock area late Thursday, causing a temporary black out due to the amount of dust in the air. The word to describe this weather phenomenon was first used in the United States in 1972, called Haboob.
Meteorologist Allan Curtis of the National Weather Service office in Johnston, says fifty years ago, Arizona scientists began using the word to describe the dust storms that swept through the Phoenix area.
The National Weather Service uses the term, but Curtis says most Iowans probably haven’t heard it because haboobs are most common in dry, arid regions in the southwest U.S. and western plains.
In the 1930s, the “Dust Bowl” did extreme damage to parts of the Great Plains as clouds of dust swept through the countryside. Curtis says it’s hard to tell with 100 percent certainty if those storms were haboobs, but it’s likely many were.
A combination of conditions in northwest Iowa yesterday — a strong thunderstorm with high winds approaching dry, barren cropland — produced the atmosphere for a haboob.
While northwest Iowa and northeast Nebraska were hit hard by severe weather last night, South Dakota took the worst of the storms. The most severe storms hit north of Interstate 90.
Governor Kristi Noem confirmed one death from the storms. Dozens of storm-related injuries have been reported, some critical. About 50 National Guard members were activated last night to assist in areas with extensive damage.
Over 25-thousand people were without power last night across southeastern south Dakota.
The nursing home in Salem SD was destroyed in the storms, but all 30 residents are safe. Castlewood SD registered extensive damages, including the city’s school.
Sioux Falls authorities advised no travel last night after large trees and power lines went down in areas of the city.
Severe weather struck a broad area of northwest Iowa, northeast Nebraska, and southeast South Dakota.
Storm reports from the area late yesterday afternoon and evening include:The National Weather Service says Severe Thunderstorm wind gusts estimated at 70 m.p.h. or above were reported at Elk Point, S.D., West of Jefferson, S.D., at the Sheldon airport; and an estimated 80 m.p.h. wind south of Little Rock, Iowa.
Damage reports from the storms included multiple semi-trucks flipped between Elk Point and Jefferson; Large branches and power lines down northwest of Sioux City; Trees uprooted or snapped, and a roof blown off near Little Rock; and several homes and outbuildings completely destroyed southwest of Rock Valley. Outbuildings were damaged or destroyed south of Orange City,
Sioux County Emergency Management Director Nate Huizenga says power lines and trees were blown down in scattered areas of the county, mainly from Hawarden to Rock Valley, and west of Orange City. Straight line winds were the most likely cause of the damage.
A second wave of storms came through the area, with strong winds blowing down trees and power lines in Ponca, Wakefield, Newcastle and Allen, in Dixon County, Nebraska. and damage to a large machine shed was was reported near Primghar, in O’Brien County, and winds were reported at an estimated 87 miles per hour at Larchwood, in Lyon County..
High heat and humidity during the day provided fuel for the storms. High temperatures yesterday hit 97 in Le Mars, Storm Lake and Sheldon, 95 at Maurice, and 94 in Cherokee.
A head on collision in Lyon County yesterday resulted in the death of a Sioux County woman. The Iowa State Patrol says a car driven by 71 year old Carol Jo Fliear of Matlock was driving along Iowa Highway 9 in Lyon County, when, for an unknown reason, crossed the center line and collided with an oncoming semi.
Fliear was taken by ambulance to Avera Rock Rapids Hospital, where she was pronounced dead. The driver of the semi, 64 year old Gregory Krieger of Sibley, refused medical treatment. The accident occurred around 12-30 p.m. three miles east of Rock Rapids.
PEARL HARBOR SAILOR RETURNED
A Sioux City sailor who died aboard the U-S-S Oklahoma during the December 7th attack on Pearl Harbor is coming home. The remains of storekeeper third class Harry Nichols will be buried Friday at a ceremony at Memorial Park Cemetery.
Mark Nichols is the nephew of the sailor and he was contacted about identifying his uncle’s remains after he had his D-N-A tested by a national company
The COVID pandemic prevented the Navy from holding a visit with the Nichols family until this April 1st when they got together with Nichols and his sister at her home in Tennessee.
They brought a 100-page book to the family with Nichols’ history of service and an explanation of the identification process,
He says there was also a letter from Harry’s mom.
Harry Nichols was 20 years old when he enlisted in January of 1941 and had turned 21 when he died 11 months later at Pearl Harbor.
Mark says his my dad went through North Africa into Italy and fought in nine major campaigns and did say that there wasn’t a day that didn’t go by that he didn’t think of his brother. Mark intends to do something very special at Friday’s ceremonies:
Project Oklahoma started in 2015 to identify 388 service members who were unaccounted for after the ship was hit at Pearl Harbor.
There have now been 355 individuals identified using D-N-A reference samples from U-S-S Oklahoma families as well as many medical and dental records from the Oklahoma service members.
MIDWEST HONOR FLIGHTS
Midwest Honor Flights taking veterans to the U-S Capitol are ramping back up after the pandemic shut them down. Near normalcy resumes as the organization is scheduled to fill an aircraft and take off tomorrow (Saturday). Midwest Honor Flight President Aaron Van Beek started the Midwest Honor Flight chapter in March of 2017, when he was still in college. He says the number of veterans wanting to go on a flight continues to grow, with a current waiting list of 850. Midwest Honor Flight has two flights this spring, and three scheduled this fall.
The latest drought map for Iowa shows a lot less color than it has in recent weeks. D-N-R hydrologist, Tim Hall, says there are fewer areas of severe drought.
Most of northwest Iowa and parts of east-central Iowa are listed at the lowest level on the map called “abnormally dry.”
Hall says things are looking as good as they have in months.
While things have improved, Hall wants to see more of the drought go away in the rest of May and into June.
There’s another indicator for Hall that we could use more moisture.
He says that’s an indication there’s plenty of room in the soil for more water. Hall says the final weeks of May and the month of June will be key in building up the water bank for the rest of the year.
GREGG PITCHES PRIVATE SCHOOLS
Lieutenant Governor Adam Gregg, a native of Hawarden, says northwest Iowa is proof that private schools do not diminish the performance of public schools.
Gregg addressed a crowd in Sioux Center on Wednesday.
Sioux Center Christian is a kindergarten through eighth grade school with about 550 students. About three times that many students are enrolled in Sioux Center’s public K-through-12 schools.
The governor’s plan to provide 55-hundred dollar state scholarships to 10-thousand private school students has stalled in the Republican-led Iowa House. Critics say it will shift state funding away from public schools in the 42 rural counties in Iowa that do not have a private school. Others say it will become an ever increasing entitlement for the parents of students who attend private schools.
SIOUX CITY MARCH
A march throughout Sioux City Thursday sought to bring awareness to missing and murdered Indigenous Women. The march’s organizers hope to strengthen their relationship with law enforcement to bring justice to lost loved ones. Josh Taylor’s aunt is one of the cases — she was found murdered in Sioux City in 1983 and the case has never been solved. Taylor helped organize the march and says not enough people know about how widespread the issue is. Homicide is the third-leading cause of death among Native American women, according to the Urban Indian Health Institute.