A batch of storms and possibly seven tornadoes damaged houses and closed roads in central and eastern Iowa today as emergency responders gathered early reports of flooding.

Tama/Blackhawk counties: At least four inches of rain drenched parts of central Iowa and closed roads throughout Story County, emergency officials said. Tama and Black Hawk counties to the northeast suffered similar flooding, with reports of water covering U.S. Highway 218.

Story County: Lori Morrisey, the Story County emergency management coordinator, said water seeped into a nursing home in Story City and "numerous" homes around Maxwell and Gilbert. Authorities had not tallied the precise number.

In Ames, the Iowa Department of Transportation this afternoon closed the westbound lanes of U.S. Highway 30, from I-35 to University Boulevard. The closure affects the I-35 on- and off-ramps.

Iowa State University officials are keeping a close eye on Squaw Creek, which had risen to 14.97 feet as of 11:10 a.m. today, flooding major portions of Veenker Memorial Golf Course, which is north of the campus.

Jerry Stewart, director of ISU's Department of Public Safety, said a section of Stange Road has been closed.

ISU Police have called in additional officers to staff barricades at closed portions of Stange Road, according to an ISU news release.

The Iowa Department of Transportation is reporting that Iowa Highway 13 in Manchester is closed due to flooding on the Maquoketa River. A traffic detour has been established.

Also in Ames, a lightning strike from last night's storm is believed to have caused a house fire, said Fire Capt. Scott Siberski. The fire, reported around 2:45 a.m., caused an unknown amount of damage. Authorities were still investigating.

Benton County: Flash flooding triggered by five inches of rain quickly caused havoc for parts of the Vinton area Friday. Water in some low-lying areas was at least five feet deep, emergency management officials said.

At least 30 people had been sent to a shelter the Red Cross set up at the Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School as of 11:30 a.m.

At least four homes and three businesses along Hinkle Creek in Vinton were evacuated due to flooding, emergency officials said.

Several houses north of town were flooded by the Cedar River. The Cedar River in the Vinton area was predicted to crest at 14.5 feet, and flood stage is 15 feet, White said.

Tama County: In Dysart, The storm forced administrators in one eastern Iowa school district to end classes at 11 a.m. after a boiler room flooded at Dysart-Geneseo Elementary School.

The Union school district, just south of Waterloo, released all of its 1,250 students after administrators realized they would not have the damage fixed by the day's end, said Superintendent Neil Mullen.

Water in the school's boiler room rose to within six inches of a circuit breaker box, and was being pumped out with potentially hazardous gas-powered pumps, Mullen said Flooding also occurred in a few middle-school classrooms, and there was no hot water in either of the two elementary schools. None of the schools lost power.

Mullen said cleaning crews would fix the problems over the weekend.

"This is an only an inconvenience compared to what our friends just north of here have dealt with," said Mullen, referring to the Sunday tornado that devastated Parkersburg. "Overall, we're in good shape."

Greatest storm damage in Clarke, Marion counties

Clarke and Marion Counties in south-central Iowa appear to have suffered the greatest storm damage, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service said. The damage - described as moderate - included several houses, grain bins and farm machinery.

"There's certainly a lot of water," throughout the state, said meteorologist Brad Small. "But I think the storm damage is probably more substantial than any of the flooding."

The storms at one point left more than 1,900 Iowans without electricity, said MidAmerican Energy spokesman Mark Reinders. Nearly 1,300 - including 1,100 in Des Moines - still lacked power at 10 a.m. today.

Reinders said MidAmerican hoped to restore power to Des Moines customers by this afternoon, and to all Iowans by Saturday. Outages also were reported in Council Bluffs, Iowa City, the Quad Cities and Waterloo.

High winds damage buildings

Clarke County: In south-central Iowa, winds downed at least two barns, ripped shingles off several roofs and blew off multiple garage doors, said Allan Mathias, Clarke County emergency management coordinator.

The damage happened between 4 and 5 a.m. The damage is "spotty," Mathias said, but occurred in areas ranging from the west-central part of the county diagonally to the northeast part. There were no reports of injuries, and no confirmed reports of tornadoes.

Calhoun County Farnhamville was the county's hardest-hit area. Winds tore roofs off at least two homes and destroyed at least one garage, said Kerrie Hull, the county's emergency services coordinator. Near Knierim, a barn and a machine shed were destroyed. Hull said there were unconfirmed reports of at least one small tornado in the county. There were no reports of injuries, Hull said.

Lucas County: Early morning winds swept through, downing a couple of barns and pulling off siding and shingles of several homes, said Sheriff Jim Baker. There were no tornado reports.

Dallas County In the rural part of the county about two miles northwest of Adel, winds downed trees and power lines, and damaged shingles and siding, said Barry Halling, the county's emergency management coordinator. The damage happened about 2 a.m.

Flooding Details:

Tornadoes not yet confirmed

The National Weather Service had not yet confirmed any tornado touchdowns but had heard reports of tornadoes in Clarke, Calhoun, Marion, Warren, Lucas and Dallas Counties.

A tornado watch for a southeastern swath of Iowa expired at 9 a.m.

Polk County and much of central Iowa remain under a flash-flood this morning, with thunderstorms expected to taper off by mid-day. Additional severe storms could develop this afternoon, Schumacher said.

Last night's storms came less than a week after a mile-wide twister with winds up to 205 mph crushed the southern section of Parkersburg and killed seven. Schumacher said the overnight storms were far weaker than the Parkersburg tornado.

Scattered showers and thunderstorms in Des Moines were expected to continue this morning, with a high near 85 degrees. The weather tonight was expected to be partly cloudy, with sunshine and higher temperatures expected Saturday.