Deadly TORNADO Outbreak in Iowa 5 Dead, Over 35 Injured, Officials Say

Deadly TORNADO Outbreak in Iowa: 5 Dead, Over 35 Injured, Officials Say

Powerful tornadoes swept through Iowa, killing five people and injuring at least 35, with one wreaking havoc on the little city of Greenfield, officials said Wednesday.

The Iowa Department of Public Safety reported Tuesday’s tornadoes killed four people in the Greenfield area, while the Adams County Sheriff’s Office claimed a fifth victim, a woman whose car was thrown off the road, was killed by a twister about 25 miles (40 kilometers away). Monica Zamarron, 46, perished in the crash on Tuesday afternoon, according to officials.

Officials did not reveal the identities of the Greenfield area victims because they were still notifying their families. The Iowa Department of Public Safety warned Wednesday that the number of individuals injured is expected to be greater.

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The Greenfield tornado ripped through the community of 2,000, roughly 55 miles (88.5 kilometers) southwest of Des Moines, destroying homes, splintered trees, and crumpled cars. The tornado also ripped apart and collapsed enormous power-generating wind turbines many kilometers outside of the city.

Kimberly Ergish, 33, of Greenfield, and her husband combed through the rubble field that formerly served as their home on Wednesday, looking for family photos and other salvageable artifacts. She acknowledged that there wasn’t much left.

“Most of it, we can’t save,” she remarked. “But we’re going to get what we can.” The reality of her house being demolished in seconds has yet to sink in, she added.

“If it weren’t for all the bumps and bruises and the achy bones, I would think that it didn’t happen,” she said. Tuesday’s storms also hit sections of Illinois and Wisconsin, knocking out electricity for tens of thousands of people in both states. The extreme weather turned south on Wednesday, and the National Weather Service issued tornado and flash flood warnings in Texas, with portions of the state, including Dallas, under a tornado watch.

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According to the National Weather Service, initial surveys showed at least an EF-3 tornado in Greenfield, although further damage assessment may result in a more strong score.

AccuWeather Chief Meteorologist Jon Porter reported that the tornado appears to have been on the ground for more than 40 miles (64 kilometers). A BlackSky Technology satellite imagery shows where the twister carved an almost straight line of damage through Greenfield, just south of the town square.

The catastrophic tornado struck amid an unusually poor tornado season in the United States, at a time when climate change is causing storms to become more severe around the world. April saw the second-highest number of tornadoes on record in the country.

According to NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma, 859 confirmed tornadoes have occurred this year as of Tuesday, 27% higher than the average for the United States. So far, Iowa has the most confirmed twisters, with 81.

On Tuesday alone, the National Weather Service received 23 tornado reports, the majority of which were in Iowa, with one each in Wisconsin and Minnesota.

Porter said the tornado that wrecked parts of Greenfield brought to life Iowa’s worst-case scenario, which weather forecasters had predicted.

“Debris was lifted thousands of feet into the air before falling to the ground several counties away from Greenfield.” That demonstrates just how powerful and terrible this tornado was,” Porter added.

People as far distant as 100 miles (160 kilometers) from Greenfield shared photographs on Facebook of ripped family portraits, yearbook pages, and other belongings thrown into the air by the tornado.

Nicole Banner, about 90 miles distant in Ames, Iowa, discovered a yellowed page declaring “This Book is the Property of the Greenfield Community School District” plastered to her garage door like a Post-It note after the storm.

“We just couldn’t believe it had traveled that far,” she stated.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre stated that FEMA’s administrator would travel to Iowa on Thursday and that the White House was in contact with state and local leaders. She stated that they were “praying for those who tragically lost their lives” and wished the injured a “speedy recovery.”

Greenfield’s 25-bed hospital was one of the destroyed buildings, and at least a dozen injured individuals had to be transported to other hospitals. In a Facebook post on Wednesday, hospital administrators stated that the hospital will stay closed until further assessment, and that full repairs might take weeks or months. The hospital, in collaboration with other providers, established an urgent care clinic at an elementary school, with primary care services expected to begin on Thursday, according to the post.

On Monday, residential lanes were lined with old-growth trees and tastefully equipped ranch-style homes; on Wednesday, they were a jumbled mess of splintered and broken wreckage. Many of the homes’ basements where residents stayed were exposed, and front yards were littered with goods ranging from furniture to children’s toys and Christmas decorations.

Dwight Lahey, a 70-year-old retired truck driver, traveled from suburban Des Moines to Greenfield to assist his 98-year-old mother. She took cover in her basement during the tornado, then walked out through her demolished garage to a nearby convenience store, Lahey said.

“I don’t know how she got through that mess,” he replied. His mother was living in a hotel, unsure of where she would wind up with her home gone, he claimed.

Roseann Freeland, 67, waited until the last minute to rush with her husband to a concrete room in the basement. Seconds later, her husband opened the door, “and you could just see daylight,” Freeland explained. “I’ve simply lost it. “I just completely lost it.”

Tuesday’s destructive weather also included flooding and power outages in Nebraska, tornado damage in Wisconsin and Minnesota, and dust storms in Illinois that forced two interstates to close.

The devastation in Iowa came after days of severe weather that wrecked much of the country’s heartland, including Oklahoma and Kansas. Last week, catastrophic storms struck the Houston area, killing at least eight people and knocking out power for hundreds of thousands.

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