Officials: 7 killed after tornado broke through central Iowa

Des Moines, Iowa (AP) – Seven people were killed, including two children, when several tornadoes swept through central Iowa, injuring …

Des Moines, Iowa (AP) – Seven people were killed, including two children, when several tornadoes swept through downtown Iowa, damaging buildings and knocking down trees and power lines, authorities said.

Madison County emergency officials said four were injured and six were killed Saturday when a tornado flew in an area south-west of Des Moines near the town of Winterset around 4:30 p.m. Among those killed were two children under the age of five and four adults.

In Lucas County, about 54 miles (87 kilometers) southeast of Des Moines, officials confirmed one death and several reports of injuries when a single tornado struck less than an hour later.

Thunderstorms that spawned tornadoes swept through much of Iowa from noon to Saturday night, and storms also damaged the Des Moines suburb of Norwalk, areas east of Des Moines and other areas of eastern Iowa.

Officials say a number of homes have been damaged, roads have been blocked by broken lines, and tree branches have been shredded by strong winds. At one point, the power outage affected about 10,000 people in the Des Moines area.

The storms are the worst since 2008, when one tornado destroyed nearly 300 homes and killed nine people in the northern city of Parkersburg in May, and another storm a month later killed four boys at a Little Sioux ranch in western Iowa. Iowa.

The National Weather Service in Des Moines tweeted Sunday that there were at least three thunderstorms that caused the tornado, but “it is unknown at this time how many tornadoes occurred.”

Meteorologist Alex Krul said severe storms like this one in March in the Midwest are unusual but unusual. He said they are more common in April and May.

Scientists have said that extreme weather events and rising temperatures are more likely to occur when human-induced climate change. However, the scientific attribution of a storm system to global warming requires special analysis and computer simulations that require time, have not been made and sometimes do not show a clear connection.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds has issued a disaster declaration for Madison County that allows public resources to be used to help with response and recovery.

“Our hearts greet all those affected by the deadly storms that tore our state apart today,” Reynolds said. “Our hearts ache at this time, but I know the Ivans will come out and come together to help in this time of need – they already are.”

Madison County Emergency Situations Director Diogenes Ayala said 25 to 30 homes were badly damaged.

“It’s the worst thing anyone has seen in a very long time,” he said.

Wendy Burkett told the Des Moines Registry that she and two of her three daughters were at their home Saturday afternoon when her husband Tony called her from a nearby barn where he worked and warned her of a tornado warning.

Burkett said she went outside and joined him in front of the house, looking down their porch to the southwest. “And then we saw it. A tornado, ”she said. “Garbage was flying around, and it was getting louder and louder.”

They were hurrying with their daughters to their basement when the tornado thundered for a few seconds. As they clung to each other, the window popped out and water began to erupt from the pipes, she said.

But about a minute later the tornado passed by, and until the family was hit, their home was in ruins among the rubble around, even in the trees.

The National Weather Service in Des Moines tweeted on Saturday that initial photos and videos of damage around the Winterset community suggest it was at least an EF-3 tornado capable of causing serious damage on a scale Enhanced Fujita. It is noted that the weather services on Sunday will investigate the damage and further assess the potential rating.

EF-3 storms typically have wind speeds in excess of 130 miles per hour.

The storm that spawned Saturday’s tornadoes hung together for about 100 miles from the Nebraska border to central Iowa, but only after the damage assessment is completed will it become clear how long the individual tornadoes have been on the ground.

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Associated Press reporter Julie Walker of New York contributed to this report.

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