Mon, Jul 22, 2013 | by Emily SchettlerShare
RAGBRAI riders were greeted in Perry this evening by heavy rainfall, hail, thunder and lightning.
The strong storm started at about 8:30 and left cyclists seeking shelter under nearby building canopies and in lobbies.
Three campgrounds were stationed near the city’s elementary, middle and high schools and riders were able to seek shelter there, Perry Fire Chief Chris Hinds said.
A fourth was in a city park and campers there sought shelter in the fire station garage bays.
The buildings will be open throughout the night if riders decide they’d like to stay indoors instead of in their tents, Hinds said.
“We have adequate shelter space for everyone,” he said.
Amanda Rieff, 32 of Dallas were planning to set up a tent in the backyard of a host house in Perry, but didn’t make it that far. They waited out the rain in the lobby of the Hotel Pattee.
“We’re trying to get someone to come get us,” Rieff said. “We may have to tough it out and ride over.”
The weather was expected to blow through by about 10:30 p.m.
The storms also canceled evening events, an organizer confirmed.
“We advise people to stay in their campgrounds,” said Bob Wilson, President of the Perry Chamber of Commerce who helped organize the RAGBRAI festivities.
Wilson said the city’s priority is to keep riders safe and make sure they can get out of town in the morning.
The cancellation means months of planning and likely a good deal of money could be lost.
“We put a lot of effort into six months of planning and Iowa weather prevailed,” Wilson said. “Next time RAGBRAI comes through we’ll do the exact same thing.”
Riders who were already at the park for the concert and other festivities were given rides to their camp sites.