Severe storms with damaging winds and large hail moved across the tri states region during the evening hours on Tuesday. The National Weather Service reported trees were downed in Lee, Hancock, and McDonough counties. There were also reports of widespread power outages.
The NWS said hail up to golf ball size and torrential rains were also observed.
The entertainment barge docked along Keokuk’s riverfront broke away during one of the storms and floated down the Mississippi River.
City Administrator Cole O’Donnell said the barge was eventually secured and towed to the docks downriver at Roquette America's facility. He said the barge can remain there for a few days but will eventually have to be moved.
The city is currently seeking bids to salvage the barge.
Warning sirens sounded several times in Macomb. Eric Lenardt, Director of the Macomb and McDonough County Communications Center, said the county sounds the sirens when the NWS issues a tornado warning, a trained spotter sees a tornado, and when a severe thunderstorm has winds of at least 70 mph and/or hail the size of golf balls or larger.
Lenardt said the sirens mean it is time to take shelter. He said it is not a good time to call the dispatch center, which is something numerous people did Tuesday night.
“When you hear the storm sirens go off, obviously our dispatch center is probably pretty busy. So when someone calls 911 or the non-emergency lines in the middle of something like that, it does not help the community, it does not help our center to deal with the situation,” he said.
Lenardt said the siren sounds for three minutes followed by 15 minutes of silence. That pattern is repeated until the threat has passed.