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Storms slam Lisbon, MV
July 03, 2014 · Margaret Stevens & Dave Morris

Wave after wave of severe storms blew through Lisbon and Mount Vernon Sunday and Monday,  flooding basements, washing out roads and knocking out power for thousands of customers. Gov. Terry Branstad declared Linn, Cedar and Jones Counties disaster areas. 

Branstad toured hard hit areas of Linn County and other parts of Eastern Iowa on Tuesday.

The first deluge hit Sunday night and more than 5 inches of rain fell in a short period, causing dozens of instances of flood damage as water from torrential rains broke basement windows, poured in from patio and garage doors and overwhelmed sump pumps.

That was followed by two storms Monday that brought 70 mile per hour straight line winds and more rain. The Monday storms split trees and flooded streets. 

Hwy. 1 north of Mount Vernon buckled and collapsed just north of Abbe Hills Road, closing the highway for the foreseeable future. A detour is sending motorists to Hwy. 13 and back.

Hwy. 30 in Cedar County was closed for some time due to water and mud.

Access to the town of Bertram will be a challenge for the foreseeable future following the collapse of a historic, century-old bridge over Big Creek. As waters rose and large pieces of debris were sent downstream, the span fell into the water, sending parts of the structure downstream.

At one point early Monday morning, Lisbon High School's baseball field was several feet of water, which drained within a few hours. 

As early as Monday, workers from the Linn County Secondary Roads Department were using gravel to fill in sections of the shoulder that had been washed out along Mount Vernon Road (County Rd. E48) just west of Mount Vernon. Wide swaths of tall grass in ditches along the road were beaten down and washed away. As of Tuesday noon, low-lying fields in the area remained awash with flood water as creeks and drainage swales were overflowing.

Police helped dozens of residents who were trapped on flooded roadways Sunday or needed to be helped from rising water within their own homes. Lisbon chief Rick Scott the rescue crew was out with a boat helping motorists and homeowners

"The two communities put their resources together and accomplished the mission," Scott said. "Fire, police, we all worked together well.

Fast flowing creeks did major damage to some property, including the drive of Tim and Debra Morrissey, who live near Kernoustie Golf Club. Part of their driveway is a bridge over Hahn Creek and the rushing water and storm debris it carried knocked out the support at one end of the bridge. 

John and Bonnie Goodwin also were hit hard when the usually small creek in their backyard turned temporarily into a river, causing significant damage to their home.

While clean-up was underway another energetic storm hit, reaching the community at about 3 p.m. Monday. Straight line winds that reached up to 70 miles per hour or more in Iowa knocked down trees and knocked out power in South Mount Vernon. A second storm hit in the evening, knocking out power to up to 15,000 customers in Linn County, including all of Mount Vernon and Lisbon. Locally, power was mostly restored around 12:30 a.m. Tuesday. 

The community may be looking at more flooding as the Cedar River and creeks in the area are expected to go over the flood stage later this week. 

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