News

Storm drops nearly baseball-size hail on Van Buren

PHOTO COURTESY OF RUSTY EBERT

Numerous cars in and around Keosauqua had their windows shattered like the one seen here after a hail storm dropped baseball-sized stones late Wednesday morning.
PHOTO COURTESY OF RUSTY EBERT Numerous cars in and around Keosauqua had their windows shattered like the one seen here after a hail storm dropped baseball-sized stones late Wednesday morning.
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KEOSAUQUA – A hail storm swept through Van Buren County Wednesday dropping balls of ice about 3 inches in diameter.

The enormous hail stones shattered windows in cars in addition to damaging roofs and siding. Van Buren County Chief Sheriff’s Deputy Brad Hudson said no injuries were reported, but he estimated the hail caused hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages.

Several Keosauqua residents posted photos on social media showing their broken windows. Kelly Ehret Putnam told The Ledger that her daughter Mallory drove to Van Buren High School Wednesday morning, and called her at about 10 a.m. to report a storm with huge hail had just hit the school. Putnam said the call was short, because she had to put the family’s cars in the garage at their house south of Bonaparte.

“We got them inside just in time,” Putnam said.

Putnam called her daughter back, who was outside in the parking lot surveying the damage. The back window of Mallory’s car was smashed, dents to every panel, a broken mirror and the windshield busted.

“When we arrived, there were numerous cars with their windows knocked out [from] hail damage,” Putnam said.

Today is the last day of school in the Van Buren Community School District. Putnam said students have offered to give their classmates a ride to school whose cars were damaged in the storm. Putnam said her daughter’s car was totaled.

Van Buren County Emergency Management Coordinator Dave Drummond was out of the county when the storm went through, but said he has been kept abreast of the situation.

“I know that many school vehicles were pummeled by hail, some of which was close to the size of a baseball,” he said.

Drummond said that as soon as he learned of the damage, he notified the Department of Homeland Security and the National Weather Service. He said that notifying government agencies expedites any aid the state or federal governments can give in a circumstance like this.

Drummond heard a report that windows in the old county courthouse were also broken. The courthouse is the oldest courthouse west of the Mississippi in continuous use.

“I have not heard of any personal injuries yet,” Drummond said. “From my standpoint, that’s a good thing. We can fix dents from hail, but we don’t want to worry about people getting hurt.”

Van Buren County residents have been on the receiving end of Mother Nature’s wrath lately. Just last week a tornado destroyed a home and other buildings near Keosauqua. Meanwhile, the Des Moines River swelled over its banks and flooded parts of the county such as the Bentonsport Park.

Doug and Paula Zollars, who live south of Keosauqua, lost a barn and significant damage to their house from the tornado. Paula reported that they were hit again Wednesday when the hail storm shattered the window in their car’s sunroof.