Long Road to Cleanup in Benton County After Derecho

National News

Norway, Iowa — Benton County was rocked hard by storms rolling through over the noon hour on Monday. Dozens of farmsteads look as though a tornado has struck here. The Derecho system also flattened corn, and caused problems for livestock producers.

“It was like 45 minutes of constant wind and rain,” said Jim Becker, a farmer from Watkins. “My neighbor lost his dairy barn with some 100 some cattle in it they were moving cows to midnight trying to get them out to different barns, and different places.”

The storm bent a fiberglas Harvestore silo, it knocked another one to the ground. Many farms had sheds and grain bins blown away. One farm had a huge grain bin wrapped around a house. So far, there are no known injuries, but comunication is difficult with no cell service, and there are few gas stations open in southern Benton County.

“Just a quick that storm hit everything the shingles started flying off my house, stuff started hitting my house,” said Marie Belle Kelly, of Norway. “I was just scared to death, the winds they wouldn’t stop for an hour or more at least.”

The storm toppled the huge steeple on the St. Michael’ s Cathoic Church. The building was constructed in 1891. The steeple landed on the steps leading into the church. Masses have been halted until further notice.

“I just prayed please make the wind stop,please make it stop,” said Kelly. “I prayed for over an hour finally did quit.”

Losing the iconic steeple is difficult for those who attend here. Some would like to see the steeple restored.

“This is really a tragedy here,” said Kelly. “We could establish a fund to maybe rebuild this.”

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