Winds, Rare December Storm Wreak Havoc Across Southwest Iowa

Tree and electrical wire damage on West Sharp Street in Glenwood.

The north and east walls of the fire-damaged Mulholland's Grocery building in Malvern collapsed during Wednesday's storm and high winds.

An uprooted tree near the Mills County YMCA.

A downed power pole and electrical wires outside the Glenwood Police Station Thursday morning.

High winds and a rare December thunderstorm that swept through southwest Iowa last Wednesday caused extensive tree, electrical line and structural damage in southwest Iowa.

Mills County Emergency Management Director Larry Hurst said at one time, 68 percent of MidAmerican Energy customers in Mills County were without power. Crews worked around the clock for two days to restore power. Much of Glenwood was without power for around 12 hours from late Wednesday afternoon to early Thursday morning.

Hurst said his office received reports of possible tornadic activity and damage to outbuildings on some rural properties in west central Mills County. There were also reports of possible funnel cloud sightings near Tabor.

There could have been tornadic funnel in that because we had a sighting or two down in the Tabor area and the straight-line winds,” Hurst said. “There was a lot of tree damage.”

Seven occupants of a rental home south of Highway 34 near 250th Street were displaced and were being housed at The Arthur Hotel in Glenwood. Hurst said he is unaware of any storm-related injuries in Mills County.

In Malvern, the Mulholland’s Grocery building, which was gutted by a massive fire on Dec. 13, received additional damage on Wednesday. Hurst said the north wall of the building collapsed first as a result of the high winds and the front wall gave way a short time later as the storm blew through town.

On Thursday, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds issued a disaster proclamation for seven western Iowa counties in response to the severe storms. The governor’s proclamation activated the Iowa Individual Assistance Grant Program (IIAGP) and the Iowa Disaster Case Management program.

West Central Community Action had seven counties declared a disaster including: Cass, Harrison, Mills, Montgomery, Page, Pottawattamie and Shelby counties.

The Iowa Individual Assistance Grant Program (IIAGP) may provide up to $5,000 of assistance, reimbursement and/or vendor voucher, for covered items to households at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level or a maximum annual income of $43,920 for a family of three. Application must be made through your local community action office.  You may be eligible for repair or replacement of items damaged by storms/flooding.  Potential applicants have 45 days from the date of proclamation to submit a claim (Jan. 31, 2022).

The Iowa Disaster Case Management (IDCM) program is to address serious needs to overcome disaster-related hardship, injury or adverse conditions.  Disaster case managers work with clients to create a disaster recovery plan and provide guidance and referrals. There are no income eligibility requirement for Disaster Case Management and there is no direct financial assistance provide by Disaster Case Management.  Disaster Case Management closes 180 days from the disaster proclamation (April 15, 2022).

Additionally, individuals affected by the storms/are encouraged to report their damage/losses to their county emergency management office.

The Mills County Emergency Management Office may be contacted by calling 712-527-3643 or sending an e-mail to


The Opinion-Tribune

116 S Walnut St Glenwood, IA 51534-1665
PO Box 191 Glenwood, IA 51534-0191
Phone: 712-527-3191
Fax: 712-527-3193

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