Midwest storms: Iowa tornado kills dozens, injures dozens

GREENFIELD, Iowa (AP) — Authorities in Iowa continued search and rescue efforts Wednesday, a day after a deadly tornado ripped through the state and killed at least one person.

The Adams County Sheriff’s Office said a woman died Tuesday when her vehicle was thrown off the road during tornadoes about 3 miles (5 kilometers) north of Corning, Iowa, or about 30 miles (48 kilometers) southwest of Greenfield. A vast area of ​​destroyed houses and wrecked cars.

The woman’s name and age were not immediately released. She was the only one in the vehicle.

Damage is seen after a tornado moved through Greenfield, Iowa, Tuesday, May 21, 2024. (AP Photo/Hannah Fingerhut)

Authorities did not immediately release details of other deaths or injuries Wednesday morning, saying they were still conducting search and rescue operations.

The tornado that tore through Greenfield also toppled wind turbines outside the small town.

After Greenfield, home to 2,000 people, is devastatingThe storms moved east and hit parts of Illinois and Wisconsin, knocking out power to tens of thousands of customers in both states.

The deadly twister that hit Iowa came in the midst of the historically worst hurricane season in the U.S. at the time. Climate change Storms are increasing in intensity around the world. It was April The second highest number of hurricanes Registered in USA

As of Tuesday, the country has seen 27% more cyclones than average. This year’s preliminary tally of 859 is the highest since 2017 and well above the average of 676 through May 21, according to NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma. There are about 700 tornadoes in April and May.

Iowa has had 81 tornadoes this year, followed by Texas with 74 and Kansas and Ohio with 66 each.

Greenfield’s hospital was among the damaged buildings in the city, which meant at least a dozen injured people had to be transported elsewhere, said Iowa State Patrol Sgt. Alex Dingla.

“Unfortunately we can confirm that deaths have occurred,” Dinkla told a news conference Tuesday night, without specifying how many. “At this point we’re still counting.”

The remains of a tornado-damaged wind turbine touch the ground in a field near Prescott, Iowa, Tuesday, May 21, 2024.  (AP Photo/Charlie Neighborgal)

The remains of a tornado-damaged wind turbine touch the ground in a field near Prescott, Iowa, Tuesday, May 21, 2024. (AP Photo/Charlie Neighborgal)

Dinkla said he thought they had accounted for all residents of the town, but the search would continue if anyone was reported missing. The Adair County Health System said in a Facebook post Tuesday night that it has set up a triage center at Greenfield High School and that people who need medical attention should go there.

The tornado destroyed much of Greenfield, located about 55 miles (90 kilometers) southwest of Des Moines, during a day that saw multiple tornadoes, giant hail and heavy rain across several states. The National Weather Service said it received 23 tornado reports Tuesday, most in Iowa and one each in Wisconsin and Minnesota.

On Facebook, people within 100 miles (160 kilometers) of Greenfield posted photos of family photos, check stubs, wet yearbook pages and other items thrown into the air by the Greenfield tornado.

In Wisconsin, the weather service’s Green Bay office sent an employee to survey storm damage near the village of Unity in western Marathon County Wednesday morning after law enforcement received a report from the public about a tornado on the ground around 7:45 p.m. Tuesday. Meteorologist Roy Ekberg said the community is 55 miles (89 km) east of Eau Claire. Crews will visit Outagamie County near the town of Kaukauna, about 20 miles (32 kilometers) southwest of Green Bay, to investigate significant wind damage, he said.

Ekberg said parts of central Wisconsin were hit by high winds Tuesday night, with gusts of 70 mph (113 kph) in Marshfield and wind damage northwest of Wausau.

Weather Service crews will assess storm damage in southeastern Minnesota on Wednesday after radar indicated a tornado touched down in Winona County Tuesday night, said Kate Abbott, a meteorologist with the agency’s La Crosse, Wisconsin, office.

“Through that we had a radar-confirmed tornado, but we’re going out there surveying to make sure the damage is consistent with a tornado,” he said.

Officials announced a mandatory curfew for Greenfield, saying they would only allow residents to enter the city until Wednesday morning. They also ordered media representatives to leave the city on Tuesday night.

After the storm, piles of broken trees from houses, branches, car parts and other debris littered the homes. A few trees that were still standing were stripped of their limbs and leaves. Residents helped each other to save furniture and other items that were scattered in every direction.

Roc Paxton said he took shelter in the basement of his home as the storm moved through. He told WOI-TV he thought the house was lost but his family got lucky.

“But everybody else wasn’t so much, like my brother Cody, whose house was swept,” Paxton said. “Then you see all these people helping each other. … Everything is fine because we have each other, but it’s actually very difficult. It’s a mess.”

A tornado also knocked down several 250-foot (76-meter) wind turbines in southwestern Iowa. Some of the turbines caught fire and sent plumes of smoke into the air. Wind turbines are built to withstand hurricanes, typhoons and other powerful winds.

Mary Long, owner of Long’s Market in downtown Greenfield, said she rode out the storm at her business in the community’s historic downtown square, which largely escaped damage. Long said damage appeared to be widespread in the east and south parts of the city.

“I could hear this roar, like a freight train, and then it was over,” he said.

Camille Blair said the Greenfield Chamber of Commerce office where she works was closed before the storm around 2 p.m.

“From my house I can see it went down the road in a straight line,” he said of the tornado.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds said he plans to visit Greenfield Wednesday morning.

“With tornadoes hitting so many Iowa communities just a few weeks ago, it’s hard to believe it’s happened again,” he said in a statement. “Iowans are strong and resilient, and we will get through this together.”

Iowa advanced to severe weather after the Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center gave much of the state a high chance of seeing severe thunderstorms with the potential for strong tornadoes. Storm and tornado warnings moved into Wisconsin Tuesday evening and night.

Earlier in the day, residents west of Omaha, Nebraska, awoke to blaring sirens and widespread power outages as heavy rain, high winds and large hail battered the area. Floors and cars were submerged in the flood. Television station KETV It showed firefighters rescuing people from vehicles.

In Illinois, dust storms led officials to close two stretches of the interstate due to low visibility.

The storms continued Extreme weather days It has wiped out a large part of the country’s middle class. Strong winds, large hail and tornadoes lashed parts of Oklahoma and Kansas late Sunday, damaging homes in Oklahoma and injuring two people.

Another round of storms hit Colorado and western Nebraska Monday night. Yuma, ColoradoHail the size of baseballs and golf balls, turning streets into rivers of water and ice.

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McFeddridge reported from Des Moines, Iowa, and Beck from Omaha, Nebraska. Associated Press writers Steve Karnowski in Minneapolis, Josh Funk in Omaha, Colin Slevin in Denver and Juan Lozano in Houston contributed to this report.

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