Recovery Efforts Begin After Deadly TORNADO Strikes Greenfield, Iowa!

Recovery Efforts Begin After Deadly TORNADO Strikes Greenfield, Iowa!

The skies were blue and the wind was blowing as residents of Greenfield, Iowa, rushed to clean up two days after a catastrophic tornado swept away more than 100 homes in one minute, killing four people and injuring at least 35 others.

The loud clamor of heavy equipment picking up the splintered homes, smashed vehicles, and torn trees echoed throughout the mile-long stretch Thursday. But on either side of that path, lovely houses and gardens appear undamaged, and it’s difficult to imagine a twister with peak winds of 175-185 mph (109-115 kph) decimated the 2,000-person village.

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More severe weather was forecast in the Midwest on Thursday night and Friday, including a tornado that remained on the ground for over an hour in southwestern Oklahoma and probable tornadoes in already affected portions of Iowa.

The devastation caused by Tuesday’s tornado in Greenfield was seen on the faces of those who were still absorbing how quickly their homes and lives had been broken – some in sadness, many happy to have survived.

Dean and Pam Wiggins were among those killed, according to their grandson, Tom Wiggins.

On Thursday, he searched for any of his grandparents’ items that survived after the tornado destroyed their home, leaving only the foundation. He said they were “incredibly loved by not only our family but the entire town.”

Not far away, Bill Yount was cleaning up.

“It’s like somebody took a bomb,” Yount remarked, referring to the ground, which was covered in wood, garbage, trees stripped of their leaves, and heavy machinery and equipment used to clear up the damage.

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He retreated to a closet to wait out the storm.

“The roof raised up and slammed back down and then the windows all blew out,” he said on Thursday. The tornado pulled the garage off his house and damaged the internal walls. “Forty seconds changed my life immensely,” stated the man.

A black van ended up badly damaged and parked between his house and a neighbor’s.

“Nobody knows whose it is,” he continued.

Sherri Beitz was cleaning up outdoors, grateful that her mother, Ginger Thompson, 79, survived even though she is unable to access the basement of her home due to her wheelchair.

“She was trapped for a while,” Beitz explained. “It was a terrible circumstance, but the most important thing is that she is okay. Houses can be replaced.

“You look around and are just so grateful that the community didn’t lose more than what we did,” Beitz stated.

Colton Newbury was working in Des Moines when the tornado struck, about 60 miles (97 kilometers) from his wife and 10-month-old daughter in Greenfield.

He ran back, only to discover their house was “a hole in the ground,” he claimed. His wife had not heard the sirens. According to Newbury, his cousin went out to collect his wife and kid, and they rode out the tornado in his basement. The winds ripped entire homes apart, he said: “About every house on the block is just foundations left.”

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds hailed the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s reaction on Thursday, as she requested a disaster declaration for several counties. After inspecting Tuesday’s devastation, the National Weather Service estimated that three different severe tornados carved routes totaling 130 miles (209.21 kilometers) across Iowa, according to Donna Dubberke, the Des Moines meteorologist.

FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell stated that her organization will evaluate the request as soon as possible to provide resources, such as funds for temporary housing, to people who have lost their homes.

A series of tornadoes ripped through the state on Tuesday, destroying more than 202 homes, according to Reynolds. The majority were in and around Greenfield. The tally excludes companies and other structures that have been destroyed or damaged, such as Greenfield’s 25-bed hospital.

The unpredictable weather was forecast to continue throughout the Midwest.

The National Weather Service reported that a tornado remained on the ground in southeastern Oklahoma for over an hour on Thursday evening. Meteorologist Jennifer Thompson reported that while several residences were destroyed, there were no immediate reports of injuries.

The service also received reports of very large hail, some the size of baseballs, as well as flash floods after 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 cm) of rain fell along the storm’s course during approximately three hours, Thompson said.

The weather service will have to examine to determine how powerful the tornado was and how far it traveled on the ground, she said.

The Storm Prediction Center of the National Weather Service predicted an increased severe storm risk late Thursday into Friday early for parts of Nebraska and western Iowa, including locations where tornadoes struck Iowa and streets and basements in Nebraska were inundated by hurricane-force winds, huge hail, and heavy rain.

This latest band of severe weather, including possible tornadoes, will hit Iowa “when people are sleeping,” according to Des Moines-based National Weather Service meteorologist Andrew Ansorge.

“Because of the damage already there, it won’t take much wind to inflict even more damage on these homes,” Ansorge stated. “It’s just a bad deal all the way around.”

More severe weather is possible on Saturday and Sunday in storm-damaged areas of Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas.

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