The storm that damaged Muscatine and vicinity on Monday spawned an EF1 tornado, according to the National Weather Service. The twister came from a squall line that spanned much of Iowa. Mayor DeWayne Hopkins says the bad weather followed him to Muscatine all the way from Iowa City. From radar, witness accounts and the damage track itself, the Weather Service says it appears the squall line had winds of 60-70 mph. As the squall line pushed through the atmosphere, it spawned a tornado from the ground up over northern Muscatine. The Weather Service says that is a different type of tornado than the more "classic" supercell tornado that produces a distinct radar signature several minutes before a tornado develops. Hopkins says since the tornado was not visible on radar, no tornado warning was issued for Muscatine and storm sirens were not activated.
The Weather Service says the tornado was on the ground from 3:04 to 3:10 in the afternoon. It was 100 yards wide and had maximum winds of 110 mph. The path was approximately 6 1/2 miles long.
Durant’s storm siren also was not activated. At Monday's Durant City Council meeting, city clerk Deana Cavin told councilmen the city had been getting calls from people wondering the protocol for sounding the storm siren in Durant. Councilman Scott Spengler, a Durant firefighter, says portions of Durant sit in three counties, and everyone seems to have a different idea as to when storm sirens should be activated. He says some towns blow their siren all the time. But he says the problem is, if you blow it every time you have a little rain and a little wind, people soon take the siren for granted. Spengler says Durant firefighters were out Monday afternoon, acting as storm spotters. He says if a tornado had been sighted nearby, Durant would have activated its siren. Mayor Dawn Smith says residents should be listening to weather radios, monitoring the media and getting a weather app on their smart phones. She says if a storm is near, and they are concerned, residents should take shelter. Spengler says in Durant, if you hear the siren, you’d better go to the basement because there's a reason they are blowing it.
The Muscatine Art Center re-opened yesterday. Tree removal continued, and visitors are asked stay on the main walkways to the building. Director Melanie Alexander says that no one was injured and damage to the historic house could have been much worse. A few things have changed but it’s due to flooding on the riverfront:
• July 1st: Chalk the Walk is being moved to the parking lot of the Button Factory Restaurant. The time is the same: 5 p.m. to dusk.
• July 1st: The presentation "Muscatine at Vicksburg" is being moved to Musser Public Library. The time is changed to 7:15 to 8 p.m.
• The Ice Cream Social at the Art Center, scheduled for Sunday, June 30th, will go ahead as planned.
Congressman Dave Loebsack has re-introduced the Senate farm bill in the House of Representatives. He was joined by Congressman Bruce Braley and Congresswoman Cheri Bustos as original cosponsors.
A delegation of nine visitors from different universities in Hebei Province were in Muscatine recently to visit Muscatine Community College and talk about the possible exchange of students and teachers. Mayor DeWayne Hopkins has since received a letter of thanks from Liu Mingsheng, a school president and part of the education delegation.