Tornadoes kill 7 in Iowa

At least seven people were killed, including two children, in Iowa on Saturday as communities across the state were hit by tornadoes, au...


At least seven people were killed, including two children, in Iowa on Saturday as communities across the state were hit by tornadoes, authorities said.

Six of the deaths occurred in Madison County and a seventh was reported southeast of Chariton, a town in Lucas County, officials said.

In Madison County, southwest of Des Moines, four adults were injured, including three in serious condition and one who suffered life-threatening injuries, said Diogenes Ayala, director of the Agency for Madison County Emergency Management.

“The best thing the community can do is not go to these areas,” Mr. Ayala told a press conference on Saturday evening. “Let the people who live there – let them clean up. Give them some space. It’s quite devastating for our community.

Governor Kim Reynolds of Iowa issued a disaster proclamation for Madison County, authorizing the use of state resources for response and recovery efforts.

“Our hearts go out to everyone affected by the killer storms that tore through our state today,” Ms. Reynolds said in a declaration Saturday.

Alex Krull, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Des Moines, said Sunday that at least three confirmed tornadoes have passed through the state and officials are trying to determine if there are more.

Mr Krull said tornadoes are typical in the state in April and May, making Saturday’s storms a “somewhat rare” occurrence.

The National Weather Service said that a preliminary review of photos and video from around Winterset, a city in Madison County, suggested damage from a tornado with wind speeds of over 135 miles per hour.

Agency investigation teams were still investigating the damage on Sunday.

The Madison County deaths — including two children under the age of 5 — occurred in different locations. Mr Ayala did not release further details of the deaths as some families of the victims had not yet been informed.

Mr Ayala estimated on Saturday that 25 to 30 homes had been destroyed but said a more comprehensive assessment would come on Sunday.

Video published on social media and recorded south of Winterset showed the aftermath of the weather: piles of debris, smoke and an overturned car.

Lucas County officials did not release details of the death there, also because family members were not notified.

One other person was seriously injured, a few suffered minor injuries and four to six Lucas County homes were “severely impacted,” county emergency management coordinator Mike Lamb said Saturday night.

In Polk County, two people were injured and several roads were closed due to severe storm damage, according to the county sheriff’s office.

Tornadoes are “pretty common” in Iowa, Lamb said.

“It’s not a rare occurrence,” he added. “But tornadoes of these magnitudes that cause damage are rare, or rarer.”

Several homes in Norwalk, about 10 miles south of Des Moines, were damaged along with the city’s public works site and some businesses, said city spokeswoman Shelby Hisel. No injuries were reported in Norwalk as of Sunday morning.

In Julyat least 12 tornadoes moved through Iowa, with winds in some places reaching 145 mph and damaging several homes.

At July 19, 2018, 21 tornadoes crossed the state, including two with winds of 144 mph, according to the weather service. These tornadoes damaged several businesses and homes in Marshalltown and Pella, and injured 22 people.

Isabella Grullon Paz and Eduardo Medina contributed report.



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