A powerful storm that blew through the Iowa City and Cedar Rapids area Monday afternoon caused at least one major road closure, some structural damage and left thousands of people without power.
Heavy rains pounded Eastern Iowa before 3 p.m., and strong winds along with funnel sightings prompted sirens to sound in Johnson County and surrounding areas. Johnson County Emergency Management reported a tornado sighting south of Solon, although initial damage reports were minor.
Damage included some blown structures and utilities, including barns and electrical lines. The Johnson County Sheriff’s Office at 3:30 closed Highway 1 south of Solon because of a downed power line across the road.
MidAmerican Energy at 4 p.m. reported 3,633 power outages in the Iowa City area, including 2,968 in Coralville, 279 in Iowa City, 382 in rural Johnson County, and a handful in other communities.
Given the widespread nature of the outages, officials were calling in crews from across the state and said it could take 24 to 36 hours to restore power.
Alliant Energy after 4 p.m. said it had about 3,500 customers in the path of the storm without power, and crews were out assessing the damage. The company on its Facebook page announced a short planned outage in the 29th Avenue area in Cedar Rapids just before 5 p.m., affecting 1,500 customers for 10 to 15 minutes.
Company officials also said flash flooding was creating some difficulties in their efforts to restore service.
The Coralville Library, just before 4 p.m., announced a brief closure during the power outage.For Johnson and Linn counties, the National Weather Service issued a severe thunderstorm watch until 7 p.m., a flood warning until 1:30 a.m. Tuesday and a flash flooding watch until 7 a.m.