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Mother Nature Deals a Blow to Butler County

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BUTLER COUNTY, Iowa - High winds and endless rains plagued Butler County throughout the day on Wednesday.

"Since about 2:00 p.m. (Wednesday) Butler County has been kind of wracked here," said Butler County Emergency Management Director Mitch Nordmeyer. "We had a straight-line wind event southwest of Greene, 90 to 95 mile an hour winds. The preliminary damage assessment shows 18 buildings damaged or destroyed and rough estimate of about half a million dollars."

The storm left many in Greene without power. Crews lined Main Street working quickly to get the lights back on. Lauren Jepperson, 16, passed the time reading a book and listening to music in her car.

"My friend gave me a ride home and the power line was down over there, and there was a tree down over there," Jepperson said.

The rain caused a small creek to swell, leaving a home near Parkersburg surrounded by water. Dustin Schell drove to his cousin's house to check on the flooding.

"I showed up here at about a little after 4:00 p.m. and the creek was still in banks and now [at 6:30 p.m.] it's out of the banks," Schell said.

In New Hartford, emergency crews rushed around as Beaver Creek started to rise again. People gathered in the fire department to see what they could do to help save the city.

"We're about to send out a Code Red Alert message, just to tell everybody that you need to pay attention to what's going on and to be alert," Nordmeyer said. "We could see levels like we saw earlier in the week."

The city started its second round of sandbagging. The fire department said the goal was to build up the berm on the south side of the city by another two feet. The volunteer effort was put on hold as storms rolled through the area.

Emergency workers say water has not invaded any homes just yet, and everyone is working to make sure it stays that way.

"Every time it thunders and lightenings and this rain comes through it's getting a little more tense," Nordmeyer said. "And honestly I don't blame them. They are trying to do everything they can; we just hope it's enough."

Nordmeyer said the county doesn't want any sightseers. Many roads are covered in water, so he is asking people to stay home instead of driving around. They also aren't calling on any volunteers at this time.

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