Oelwein business damaged by Tuesday storm that carried intense winds

Published: Aug. 24, 2021 at 11:12 PM CDT
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OELWEIN, Iowa (KCRG) - Baron’s Motor Supply was one of the hardest-hit buildings in Oelwein following Tuesday’s storm.

Fayette County Emergency Management estimated that winds ranged from 90 to 100 mph in the area, peeling back the roof on the building near downtown Oelwein. The National Weather Service in La Crosse, Wisc., which serves Fayette County and northeast Iowa, could not confirm those wind speeds as of late Tuesday evening.

“All of sudden, you could hear the roof start to pull back, and water started coming in,” Russ McNamara, manager of the auto supply store, said. “The way the wind was moving, you knew it was going to go south.”

McNamara has managed the store for 45 years. He was inside when the storm ripped the roof right off the building, exposing thousands of dollars of product to the elements.

“It was only seconded the rain started coming in once the roof came back,” McNamara said.

Police blocked off roads while crews worked to remove debris. Lisa Roberts, the Fayette County Emergency Management Coordinator, said the intense winds left people without power from Dairy Queen on Rhode Island Rd. and Seventh Street, north.

Crops were flattened along Iowa Highway 150 between Oelwein and Independence.

“There was enough force to just pull it back up and over,” McNamara said, of his roof.

While McNamara said he wasn’t sure when they would be able to make the repairs to the roof, he said he was thankful for the people helping to cover the expensive car parts and that no one at the store was hurt during the storm.

“We were lucky to be here to tell the story,” McNamara said.

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