Severe thunderstorms tear through area

Severe weather pummeled the area Monday night with heavy rain, high winds and a tornado spotted one mile northeast of Clear Lake.  

Clear Lake city officials and those from Alliant Energy were busy Monday night and Tuesday morning clearing downed tree branches and power lines throughout the town.  In response to an overwhelming number of phone calls, the city plans to pick up tree limbs and branches placed curbside today (Wednesday, June 18).  

A trained spotter reported a tornado had possible touched down one mile northeast of Clear Lake at 6:40 p.m., according to the National Weather Service.  

Outdoor warning sirens were sounded at about that time in Clear Lake.  Emergency officials remind the public that the sirens are designed to be heard by those outdoors, signaling to them they should seek shelter.  Those already inside may not always be able to hear the sirens, but should be tuned to radio or television for storm information.

Among those seeking shelter was the Clear Lake City Council and those who attended its 6:30 p.m. meeting Monday night.  In what may be a first at the more than 50-year-old City Hall, all were ushered into the City Hall vault for safety.  

A wind gust of 65 mph was reported at the Mason City Municipal Airport and another tornado was spotted five miles northwest of Mason City at 6:58 p.m.

Several thousand Alliant Energy customers in Clear Lake and Mason City service area were without power Monday night.  According to Alliant spokesperson Justin Foss, the company hoped to have most back on line by Tuesday night.  Foss declined to provide numbers of those losing power, saying crews were still discovering issues as they made repairs.  He noted that in many cases damage occurred from the service wire to meter box on poles and residents may need to consult with an electrician before Alliant crews can make repairs.  

He also warned the public to stay away from downed power lines and noted some may be covered by branches and debris.

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