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Tornado kills multiple people in Iowa

Photo: Charlie Neibergall Associated Press In Greenfield, the tornado left a large swath of destroyed homes and damaged cars.

Scott McFetridge – Associated Press, Hannah Fingerhut – Associated Press, Margery A. Beck to Greenfield

Published at 0:00

  • United States

Iowa authorities continued their search and rescue operations Wednesday, the day after a deadly tornado devastated the town of Greenfield and killed an unknown number of people.

About 25 miles southwest of Greenfield, a woman died Tuesday when the vehicle she was driving was thrown off the road during storms near Corning, Iowa, the state's office said. Adams County Sheriff. The woman's name and age were not immediately released.

In Greenfield, a town of two thousand people located about 90 kilometers to the southwest of Des Moines, the tornado left a large swath of destroyed homes and damaged cars.

“It’s horrible,” Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds said Wednesday at a news conference outside the devastated city. It's difficult to describe. »

She and other officials declined to provide details on the number of dead and missing in Greenfield, stressing that the scale of the devastation and debris did not allow us to be sure of these figures.

Later in the day on Tuesday, the storms moved eastwards to hit certain parts of Illinois and Wisconsin, knocking out power to tens of thousands of customers in both states.

The deadly tornado that struck Iowa occurred in during a historically bad season for tornadoes in the United States, as climate change increases the severity of storms around the world. April saw the second highest number of tornadoes on record in the United States.

Tornado kills multiple people in Iowa

Photo: Charlie Neibergall Associated Press Tornado debris in Greenfield

Through Tuesday, there had been 27% more tornadoes across the country compared to average. This year's preliminary count of 859 is the highest since 2017 and is significantly higher than the average of 676 through May 21, according to NOAA's Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma. Nearly 700 of the tornadoes occurred in April and May.

Iowa had the most tornadoes this year with 81, followed by Texas with 74 and Kansas and Ohio with 66 each. The National Weather Service said it received 23 reports of tornadoes Tuesday, most in Iowa ― including the one in Greenfield ― and one each in Wisconsin and Minnesota.

“The worst case scenario”

The tornado that destroyed Greenfield fulfilled the worst-case scenario meteorologists feared for Iowa, said AccuWeather chief meteorologist Jon Porter.< /p>

“Debris was lifted thousands of feet into the air and eventually fell to the ground several counties away from Greenfield. This is proof of the intensity and severity of this tornado,” Porter said.

The deadly tornado appears to have been on the ground for more than 40 miles, and the damage it caused is the worst seen since an EF-4 tornado ― with wind speeds between 167 and 200 miles/hour ― struck Mayfield, Kentucky in December 2021.

A mobile search radar located in the Greenfield tornado area detected wind speeds above 200 miles per hour, which is the threshold for an EF-5 tornado, Porter said.

“But this measurement was taken at a altitude between 600 and 1000 feet above the ground. It is the severity of ground damage, as noted in storm damage surveys, that determines the strength of a tornado,” he said.

< p>Greenfield Hospital was among the damaged buildings in the city, meaning at least a dozen injured people had to be transported to other facilities, State Patrol Sergeant Alex Dinkla said Tuesday evening from Iowa. A triage center has been set up for the injured at Greenfield High School. The Adair County Health Department said a Methodist church was also used to treat the injured.

On Facebook, people 100 miles away Greenfield released photos of torn family photos, check stubs, damp phonebook pages and other items that were lifted into the sky by the Greenfield tornado.

In Wisconsin, the weather service's Green Bay office sent an employee Wednesday morning to assess storm damage near the village of Unity in western Marathon County after law enforcement received a report from the public of a tornado on the ground around 7:45 p.m. Tuesday in this community about 55 miles (90 kilometers) east of Eau Claire, meteorologist Roy Eckberg said.

< p>He said staff members would also travel to Outagamie County near the town of Kaukauna, about 30 kilometers southwest of Green Bay, to investigate extensive wind damage .

Weather service staff will also assess storm damage Wednesday in southeastern Minnesota after radars indicated a tornado touched down ground Tuesday evening in Winona County, said Kate Abbott, a meteorologist with the weather service's La Crosse, Wis., office.

Just over 32,000 customers were without electricity in Wisconsin on Wednesday noon, according to the site poweroutage.us.

In the aftermath of the Greenfield tornado, mounds of broken wood, branches, car parts and other debris littered the lots where homes once stood. Some trees still standing have been stripped of their branches and leaves. Residents helped each other recover furniture and other objects scattered in all directions.

A tornado also reportedly knocked down several 76-meter wind turbines southwest of the city. Some of the wind turbines caught fire, sending plumes of smoke into the air. Wind farms are built to withstand tornadoes, hurricanes and other powerful winds.

Iowa had been bracing for severe weather after the Storm Prediction Center warned that most of the state had a high chance of severe thunderstorms with a risk of strong tornadoes.

Earlier in the day, residents of Omaha, Nebraska, in the western part of the state, woke up to blaring sirens and power outages widespread following torrential rains, strong winds and large hailstones which fell on the region. The flood flooded basements and submerged cars. KETV showed firefighters rescuing people from their vehicles.

In Illinois, dust storms prompted authorities to close sections of two highways due to low visibility.

These storms follow several days of extreme weather conditions that ravaged much of the center of the country. High winds, large hailstones and tornadoes swept through parts of Oklahoma and Kansas late Sunday, damaging homes and injuring two people in Oklahoma.

< p>Another round of storms swept through Colorado and western Nebraska Monday evening, and the town of Yuma, Colorado, was covered in hailstones the size of baseballs and golf balls, transforming the streets like rivers of water and ice.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116