Lightning strikes Rock County LECLUVERNE — Rock County officials are guessing it was a lightning strike that hit the law enforcement center mid-day Tuesday, knocking out phones, radios, the security system and the fire alarm panel.
LUVERNE — Rock County officials are guessing it was a lightning strike that hit the law enforcement center mid-day Tuesday, knocking out phones, radios, the security system and the fire alarm panel.
“We believe we were hit by lightning, but we haven’t been able to get up on the roof to find out if there was any damage,” Rock County Sheriff Evan Verbrugge reported Tuesday afternoon. “It’s raining too hard.”
An attempt to communicate via radio, used for local traffic and the fire department, was unsuccessful when authorities tried to contact Nobles County.
“They can’t hear us over the radio,” Verbrugge stated. “We can hear them, though. This thing even took out our back-up radio.”
The 911 calls were immediately transferred over to Nobles County. Anyone who tried to contact the sheriff’s office at their main non-emergency number didn’t get anything but a ringing phone or an eerie tone. Verbrugge said workers were at the law enforcement center repairing the fire panel, the security system, cameras and the phones.
“They’re still working on assessing damage,” he added. “I think things will be back up this afternoon, but there’s no way to know for sure.”
As of 6:15 p.m. Tuesday, Nobles County was still handling the Rock County 911 calls.
The lightning strike didn’t just cause problems for law enforcement in Rock County — it also took out phones and radios for family services, Heartland Express and the highway department.
“The highway department may have been hit (by lightning) as well,” Verbrugge said. “They have a brown streak across one of their countertops.”
One of the Rock County deputies reported hail in Jasper, but in Luverne, Verbrugge said, there was just a heavy rain with no serious flooding issues.
“I heard we had two and a half inches in a short period of time, but now that the storm sewers are caught up, things are fine,” he explained.
A flash flood warning was relayed shortly after 3 p.m., active until 6 p.m., for Nobles County and many of the surrounding areas.
According to the National Weather Service (NWS), Doppler radar indicated thunderstorms with heavy rainfall across the warned area. One or two inches had already fallen, the warning stated, and an additional inch or two was expected through 5 p.m.
“Runoff from this excessive rain will cause flash flooding to occur,” the warning stated. Some locations that will experience flooding, the warning cited, included Jackson, Worthington, Adrian, Brewster, Ellsworth, Fulda, Heron Lake, Lismore, Round Lake, Rushmore and Wilmont on Minnesota, along with Spirit Lake, Arnold’s Park, George, Harris, Lake Park and Sibley in Iowa.
According to the NWS, Pipestone Creek was at its fifth-highest level in history as of Tuesday at 7 p.m., with a moderate flood stage of 15.8 feet. The Sept. 23, 2010 flooding of Pipestone Creek was the second highest recorded level, at 20.22 feet.