Iowa Tornado kills at least 7, including 2 children

Iowa Tornado kills at least 7, including 2 children

Iowa Tornado kills at least 7, including 2 children

Iowa Tornado kills at least 7, including 2 children

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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Residents of the Madison County town of Winterset were reaching out to friends and neighbours on Sunday after at least six people were killed, including two children under the age of five, when a powerful tornado ripped through the community in central Iowa.

A seventh death in Chariton, Lucas County, was reported, but officials provided few details. Saturday, the National Weather Service tweeted that a “strong tornado” was likely moving very close to Chariton.

Late Saturday night, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds issued a disaster proclamation for Madison County. According to Reynolds, more Iowa counties could be added.

The proclamation came in the aftermath of a series of confirmed tornadoes caused by a swath of severe weather that slammed much of the Midwest. At the height of the storm, more than 100,000 homes and businesses in Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, and Iowa were without power.

Winterset was hit by the killer tornado shortly after another confirmed tornado was reported near Corning, Iowa, 60 miles to the west in Adams County. Flights were cancelled at Des Moines International Airport, and passengers were sheltered in tornado shelters beneath the airport.

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Farms and businesses were destroyed in and around Winterset, a hamlet of less than 6,000 people on the southwest outskirts of the Des Moines metropolitan area. Authorities reported that more than a dozen homes were destroyed in a matter of seconds.

“Our hearts ache at this time, but I know Iowans will step up and help in this time of need,” Reynolds said in a statement. “They are already.”

According to the National Weather Service, at least three thunderstorms producing tornadoes rolled through the area, but the exact number of tornadoes has yet to be determined. Initial photos and videos of the damage in Winterset indicate that the tornado was at least an EF-3, with winds exceeding 160 mph. The weather service stated that its teams would conduct additional investigations to determine the strength of the twister.

Wendy Burkett stated that she and her husband went outside after receiving a tornado warning.

“Then we noticed it. The twister, “She stated. “There was debris flying around, and it was becoming increasingly loud.”

The couple and their children fled to their basement. As they piled on top of one another to avoid being blown away, a window shattered and water began to spew from the pipes. Burkett estimated that it lasted about a minute.

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Jenn O’Neal, a Madison County farmer, described the storm as “the scariest thing I’ve ever experienced.”

“”Our ears started popping, it sounded like a vacuum,” Jenn said in an Instagram video showing the devastation of barns and other structures on her farm. “All we have left are our lives and our house, but I’m grateful for that, and everything else doesn’t matter.””

Diogenes Ayala, director of Madison County Emergency Management, said the tornado struck around 4:30 p.m. local time. According to Ayala, four adults were also injured, three of whom were critically injured.

Her husband and daughter had barely made it to the basement when the wind slammed the door behind him and the walls began to collapse.

Despite the devastation, she stated that she was unconcerned.

“I’ve lived here my whole life,” Carter, who works at Winterset Memorial Hospital, said. “Right away, there were people down here assisting us. That is exactly what we do here. That’s Iowa for you.”

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