Tornado Causes Damage in Southwest Manchester, Delaware County Fair Evacuated

Tornadic storms hit eastern Iowa on Wednesday night, including two tornadoes that were spotted on the southwest edge of Manchester.

Shortly before 8 pm, spotters reported two separate tornadoes – one on the ground south of Highway 20 about three miles southwest of the Manchester Airport and the other tornado spotted just north of the Highway 20/Highway 13 interchange. Delaware County Emergency Management Director Mike Ryan:

The tornado caused some minor damage to Casey’s Truck Stop, with two shattered windows and several vehicles damaged. Gas pumps are also down at Casey’s since the storm moved through. The tornado then crossed Highway 13 through the north parking lot of Quik ‘n Handi, with staff telling KMCH there was no damage to the convenience store itself, but several trash cans were damaged.

As the tornado made its way east down Burrington Road into Manchester, it damaged several buildings. NFO Livestock, known for years as the Manchester Livestock Auction sale barn, lost the southern half of their building – with the arena and main portion of the building still standing. Austin Lueck says around a dozen cattle – a gooseneck load – were on the grounds at the time, but they were all okay and no one was injured. Lueck says they’ll start picking up debris on Thursday morning and they’ll stay open for business as they make plans to rebuild the southern portion of the building.

The Wendling farm on the southwest edge of Manchester also sustained tornado damage. Kathy Wendling says the storm leveled their barn and also damaged their truck shop and horse barn, along with a semi and a grain trailer.

And power lines were covered in debris near Bard Concrete in Manchester.

Ryan says fortunately, there were no reports of injuries with either tornado.

And on the other end of Manchester, around 1,500 people were at the Delaware County Fair with several events happening on the fairgrounds – including the 4-H/FFA Breeding Heifer Show in the show ring, the Amateur Tough Truck Races in the grandstands and the “We Are Messengers” Christian music concert in the festival stage area. Ryan says Emergency Management had just held a weather training event with the Fair Board this spring for a scenario just like this.

Fair Manager Jeannie Domeyer says they had been keeping an eye on the weather throughout the day Wednesday and were prepared with a plan if severe storms hit.

People staying at the fair’s campgrounds were allowed to return to their campers shortly before 10 pm. And once the storms passed and the tornado warnings expired, the fair closed down early for the night.

Domeyer says while a quick assessment Wednesday night didn’t show much storm damage, there are water issues to deal with due to Wednesday’s torrential rains. The Delaware County Fair Board met early Thursday to discuss how to move forward with the rest of the week’s events – and shortly before noon, they announced that Thursday’s fair schedule is on as planned.

Jon Pardi is still scheduled to take the stage for country night tonight – you’re encouraged to get there early as security will be tighter this year, with everyone getting wanded and bag-checked at the gate. Tickets for the track tonight are sold out, though grandstand seating is still available for free with your paid fair admission.

Tornadoes and funnel clouds were also spotted and reported in the Greeley area on Wednesday night, as well as in portions of Buchanan, Fayette, Linn and Jones counties. The National Weather Service is expected to assess storm damage this week.

Storm Photos

Wendling farm on southwest edge of Manchester (photo courtesy of Kathy Wendling)

 

Debris on power lines near Bard Concrete in Manchester (photo courtesy of Marian Michelle)

 

Flattened corn in tornado’s path southwest of Manchester

 

NFO Livestock building damaged by tornado (photo courtesy of Gabi Wessels/Sarah Waterhouse Taylor)

 

 

top photo of tornado taken one mile south and two miles west of Manchester (courtesy of Theresa Kolbet)

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