Tornadoes tear through central Iowa
Iowa residents film tornadoes tearing across the area.
Multiple tornadoes tore through central Iowa on Thursday evening, with forecasters by surprise and causing damage in several cities, although the authorities had no reports of deaths.
The hardest hit location was found to be Marshalltown, a city of 27,000 people about 50 miles northeast of Des Moines, where brick walls collapsed in the streets, roofs were blown off buildings and the dome of the historic county courthouse tumbled 175 feet on the floor.
UnityPoint Health hospital in Marshalltown was damaged, spokeswoman Amy Varcoe told The Associated Press.
Marshalltown, Iowa pic.twitter.com/nQSOM9HS39
— Denice Pelster (@DenicePelster) July 19, 2018
Varcoe said all 40 of the patients were transferred to the health system of the hospitals in Waterloo and Grundy Center.
The Marshalltown hospital emergency room remained open for the treatment of patients injured in the storm, Varcoe said. Ten people have been injured in the storm had been treated at 7 p.m. Thursday, she said. She didn’t know how serious that patients’ injuries were.
A lot of damage in Marshalltown, Iowa. #iawx @NWSDesMoines @cbs2iowa pic.twitter.com/pRvPCB6qps
— Nick Stewart (@NStewCBS2) July 19, 2018
Marshalltown resident Stephanie Moz told the AP she, her husband, and their 2-month-old baby was in the town clothing shop, they have the tornado sirens went off. The family sought shelter in the building of the basement and the heard “cracking and booms and explosions” as the tornado passed.
The storm broke out a window, ruining clothing and hats on display there, and destroyed her husband’s vehicle, but she said that she was relieved.
A piece of wood puntured a windshield of a car parked on the Main Street in Marshalltown. pic.twitter.com/yE3IMqvHOx
— Michael Zamora (@mzamoraphoto) July 19, 2018
“We went through a tornado and survived,” Moz said. “I’m happy.”
Iowa State Rep. Mark Smith, who lives in Marshalltown, told Des Moines station KCCI-TV that the area will probably be declared a disaster area. Smith said that his home and neighborhood were not damaged, but much of the town and surrounding houses.
“There are houses with windows, houses without roofs,” he said. “It’s just an absolute mess.”
Seven people were injured after a tornado struck in an agricultural machinery plant in Pella, about 40 miles southeast of Des Moines.
Vermeer Corp. Vice President of Operations Vince Newendorp told The Associated Press the eastern half of the business of the campus, which consists of seven production of buildings sustained damage.
Newendorp said says the plant activated its storm warning system, and workers were in the shelter when the storm hit, scattering huge plates of metal by means of a car park and the exit of a building with a huge hole in it. Vehicles were destroyed and piled on others.
Vermeer spokeswoman Liz Sporrer told the Des Moines Register that the business hosting visitors for a special event when the tornado hit.
“We are cautiously walking through, to make sure that everyone is getting appropriate care,” Sporrer said. “Our Number 1 priority is to members of the team safely home.”
Pella Regional Health Center spokeswoman Billie Rhamy said the seven wounded were treated in the hospital and was released.
Weather forecasters said the tornado formed suddenly and took them by surprise.
Alex Krull, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Des Moines, said that forecasting models produced Thursday morning turned out to be only a small chance of strong thunderstorms later in the day.
“This morning, it doesn’t seem tornadic supercells were possible,” Krull said. “If there is anything, we expected that we could get some large hail, strong storms developed.
Additional funnels were reported as the storm moved to the east of Des Moines, past Altoona, Prairie City and Colfax.
The National Weather Service meteorologist Rod Donavon said two primary storms brought the series of damaging tornadoes. Developed in the Marshalltown area, the cause of damage, while the other began to the east of Des Moines and traveled by Bondurant and in Pella.
The exact number of tornadoes and their strength will be determined after further analysis.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.