May 2nd, Story County and Ames experience localized straight line winds resulting in damage to trees, some structures, and vehicles. The National Weather Service was tracking strong storms and issued severe thunderstorm warnings for the entire county and a tornado warning for the northern section of Story County. The severe weather began about 1:50 am and moved out of the county at approximately 3:30 am, with firefighters and law enforcement responding to downed power lines and travel hazards.
The National Weather Service review of damage reports indicates straight line winds peaked around 85 mph damaging an area a half mile wide or less and three to five miles long in north Ames. Damage reports were more scattered in rural areas. Straight line winds of 85 mph are equal to an EF 0 tornado on the Enhanced Fujita Scale demonstrating the need to take protective measures when severe thunderstorm warnings are issued.
Forecast for the next couple of days include unsettled weather with the chance of more thunderstorms. The recent storms highlights the importance of ensuring that trees near structures and power lines are trimmed to reduce the possibility of falling branches damaging structures or vehicles. Additionally, homeowners should survey their yards to identify items that may become projectiles in high winds and ensure they are properly secured. It is essential that all homes have properly programmed and tested weather radios to alert the occupants to the danger of fast moving storms or tornadoes. If anyone has questions about severe weather preparedness, they can contact the Story County Emergency Management Coordinator at 515-382-7315 or firstname.lastname@example.org.