As we have seen and heard in the news, the August windstorm that roared through Iowa recently has caused lots of power outages in many towns & cities.

While I hear some people say we were spared the worst of this Iowa storm event in the Manning area, BUT it all depends on if your corn field is now flat or mostly flat, or if a big tree or tree branch fell on your house, or like with our school, where part of the roof was basically sucked up and crinkled over...

Did you ever stop to think about why Manning did not lose power during this typical August windstorm?
Historically August is when we get these windstorms which usually generate bad hail storms in the area too.
I've heard that some isolated areas west of Manning in Crawford County were hit bad by hail.

So before you make comments to someone that "other towns/counties had it worse," consider if it was your corn fields that are now flat or buildings damaged.

I'm glad we have historical information documented so I can remind people and educate younger folks why certain things occur or don't occur - for instance: Manning didn't lose power during the recent windstorm, but NOT because we didn't have winds as strong as other communities.
Even if we would have lost power, Manning has an amazing electrical generation plant now, that not only can supply the whole town, but can generate more electricity to supply back to the main grid system of this area.

Manning has always been a leader - read below...
From the 2006 Manning Quasquicentennial history book.

Electricity!! How vital it is to the way we live! In the late 1880s electricity was beginning to be produced for cities in Iowa. Manning residents were anxious to have this power also, but it wasn't until 1901 that the first electric light franchise was issued to W.B. Swaney and Peter Ohrt for a period of ten years. Some of the present plant and some of the distribution lines were built by Iowa Public Service Company at that time. The plant ran only when electricity was most needed by its customers. The $100,000 building was finished in 1928. It was a pressed brick structure trimmed with cruscone stone. Ornamental windows adorned the structure, and it was a building of which the city of Manning was proud. Two 400 horsepower oil engines furnished the city with its power needs for thirteen years. Maurice Heider was the chief operator, Louis Suhr the assistant.
The Manning Municipal Light Plant was started in August of 1927 when it bought out the Manning Electric Light and Power Company and IPS at the cost of $135,000. The board was comprised of R.G. Sutherland, O.W. Wyatt, and P.H. Jones with Sutherland as chairman. In 1938, the first full year of operation, there were 951,109 kilowatt hours sold. This increased to 4,966,938 kilowatt hours in 1959, and then to 13,469,297 in 1979. Additions were necessary for the plant to accommodate the increase in usage, and the system kept updating.
In 1956 voters approved that the light plant purchase power from Northwest Iowa Power Cooperative and the Bureau of Reclamation. A 69,000-volt tie line and a substation at the light plant were built. The tie-in was made on June 10, 1957. The Bureau furnished the first 800 kilowatts used each month, and the local plant picked up the rest of the demand. In 1960 more power became available from the Bureau, and the local plant closed down, to be used only as a standby.
As the demand for power increased, the Manning Municipal Light Plant made additions, replacements, and improvements to the system. In the 1970s all electrical lines were moved underground. Manning was one of the first cities in Iowa to do this. It was also one of the first cities to have mercury vapor lighting in the business and residential areas. In the 1990s these mercury lights were replaced in the business area with high-pressured sodium lights. As residential streetlights need replacing now, sodium lights are installed since they are more energy efficient.
To make the system more reliable and to meet the growing needs of AGP, a new electrical substation was built in 1992. In that year, also, the light company pledged $100,000 to the West Central Iowa Healthcare Foundation whose project at that time was the construction of a new clinic. A referendum was passed in 1996 to create a communications utility, MMCTSU, and this utility became a separate entity. The electric utility also installed the communications infrastructure in 1999.
The cooling towers in the generating plant were upgraded in 2001. The Manning plant was able to utilize some of the materials taken from the Coon Rapids plant that Coon Rapids was in the process of replacing.
Currently the system is in a replacement project mode. Ninety percent of the city's distribution wires are underground and are being replaced; the ten percent of wires still above ground will be installed underground. Up-to-date switching gear in the plant is now being installed. After these replacements are complete, upgrades in the light plant itself are on the agenda. These will make the system more reliable and will improve the ability of the switching system in times of outages. The original generators in Manning's plant can still be utilized in case of an emergency. About one-fifth of the city can receive electricity from these at one time, and the system is set up to switch around to different parts of the city. Locations such as the hospital, school, rec center, and senior center would be served with electricity so that people could gather. These generators are exercised about every two months to insure their use in case of an emergency.
The electric utility has also coordinated with NIPCO to build another tie-in line with the Corn Belt Cooperative. If the feed-in from NIPCO should fail, the back-up line could be utilized, meaning that the city would have two main feed-in lines.
The city of Manning takes pride in the progress it has made in the last 125 years in so many different areas. The progress of the Manning Municipal Light Plant is one of which we can be especially proud.

Orval Fink, Eddie Fischer, and many others were the ones who worked hard to get Manning's power grid buried underground in the 1970s.
During the early years there were problems with electrical blow-outs in the underground wiring but after doing some research it was determined that some of the early wiring was defective and the newer wiring resolved those blow-outs, plus today a lot of the wires are put in heavy schedule plastic conduit.

August 10, 2020, early morning windstorm

Northwest corner roof over the balcony & weight room of the high school in Manning.

Fortunately there were janitors and school personnel present so they were able to set out buckets to catch some of the rain and keep mopping up the water as it poured through the ceiling.

If you've heard of a "silver lining in every cloud" then understand that this was the BEST place for part of the roofing to tear was over the balcony which is a solid concrete floor and NOT over the wooden gymnasium floor or over other rooms with items and carpet that would get soaked and damaged.

While many of our town "cousins" experienced damage to their trees, homes, and property, the FARMER almost always gets the brunt of the damage.
This once beautiful corn field in the city limits of Manning on the northeast corner, that was the first one planted this spring and beat some of the drought damage and heat, couldn't withstand the path of wind gusts through this part of the hillside.

So besides the worst drought in decades, we got this typical August windstorm, which occurs about every 10 years.

The wind blew for at least a half-hour
Estimated sustained winds of 70 to 80 mph with gusts of 90+

I took these pictures from our boom truck like I did at the school.

There will be a lot of one-way combining this fall.
After tasseling, the corn plants will not upright themselves anymore because the root system is mature and finished growing...before tasseling corn blown down will tend to pull/grow upright again.

View of the Trinity Church at the Heritage Park after the storm.

Since I'm getting older and have lived through a lot of weather events, I notice younger folks don't have a weather perspective, among other things...
I heard a number of 20 & 30 somethings today comment how they've never seen anything like this...of course anyone 60 and more will have a lot more memories of storms of the past.
One storm that was way before any of us were born was the March 23, 1913, tornado that destroyed a lot of buildings in the area, including the Trinity Lutheran Church in Lincoln Township.
It completely destroyed the church but it was rebuilt and now 107 years later that "sister" church stands in the Heritage Park.

As far as I know only once has a tornado touched down in the city limits. An old Indian saying is that a tornado will not touch down where forks in a river meet...but in 1881, when the town of Manning was being built, a tornado knocked down some of the buildings.
Since then there have been tornados all around Manning and funnel clouds over Manning but none that touched down in Manning.
The worst storm would be the early morning of August 6, 1956. I was a whole 6 days old when straight-line winds out of the northwest blew through our farm and Manning. There were 120 mph sustained winds which blew down a barn just south of the corn field shown above, on the farm where Nick Schrum was located. He was milking cows when the hayloft and barn blew down on top of him. They dug him out and took him to the hospital where he died.

I heard a story today from Allen "Goose" Vennink that was new to me about this storm. I've heard lots of memories but Goose's memory was very interesting.
He said he and his dad drove to town after the storm to see if they could help and they ended up at the Schrum farm. Allen said he'll never forget Carl "Kelly" Musfeldt had his rendering truck there and as they dug out one milk cow after another, many that were still alive but mortally wounded, he had to shoot them in the head to euthanize them.

North side of Schrum barn.

Clark Station on the west edge of Manning along 141 - cement block building blown apart.

302 Main Street on the corner - some windows were blown in and boarded up.
Emil Fuss standing by his car.

Elden Schroeder (bibs) on the Puck Implement pickup.

104 First Street

They almost had to postpone or cancel the Manning Diamond Jubilee 75th anniversary celebration.

Merlin & Elaine (Karsten) Schroeder

I'm always looking for closer pictures of the old high school band room which was a WWI barracks moved in from somewhere. I asked Art Rix and other old timers years ago if they knew the background on this barracks but no one could tell me.
If anyone knows and also has pictures of this building being torn down please let me know.
I want to use at least 1 picture of it in the future Manning Veterans' history book.

Back to 2020

Of course the city's endloader gets a flat tire as they started clearing the streets of trees.

A 40 feet spruce tree had its top snapped off.

Catholic Church parking lot

Like usual, the city park gets hit hard.

The old Al & Clara (Wyatt) Martens home
Typically it is the rotten and previously damaged trees that get toppled

But, even some of younger healthy trees are not spared.
This is the former home of Marvin & Bernice Gaer.

Not a good day for trampolines.

What a lot of people don't realize is that the downpour of rain that was blowing sideways caused a lot more of the damage during this storm.
When you can only see a few hundred yards, that is a lot of rain falling.
My rain guage registered 1.1 inches but I've often wondered how accurate the rain guage is during sideways winds.
Just the wind blowing through the trees is bad enough but then have a "wall of water" blowing at the same time, which also adds weight to the leaves and branches, so down they come.

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