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Storms spin up tornadoes in Iowa that cause injuries, topple wind turbines

Storms spun up tornados in Iowa that caused an unknown number of injuries and extensive damage, including the taking down of several 250-foot wind turbines.

Storms that pummeled much of Nebraska with torrential rain, high winds and large hail spun up fierce tornados in Iowa Tuesday that caused extensive damage and an unknown number of injuries in at least one rural town and took down several 250-foot (76 meters) wind turbines.

Iowa State Patrol spokesman Sgt. Alex Dinkla said multiple people were injured in Greenfield, a town of about 2,000 around 55 miles (88.5 kilometers) southwest of Des Moines, and there was a lot of damage in town. He didn’t know the extent of the injuries.

TORNADO TEARS THROUGH SUBURBAN OMAHA

Des Moines, Iowa, television station KCCI-TV showed at least three wind turbines that were toppled by an apparent tornado in southwest Iowa, and at least one was in flames with black smoke pluming from the bent structure.

The Adair County Health System hospital in Greenfield was damaged in the storm, but Mercy One spokesman Todd Mizener said he had no further details. The hospital is affiliated with Mercy One, and officials were on their way to Greenfield to assess the damage.

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

"I could hear this roaring, like the proverbial freight train, and then it was just done," she said.

Camille Blair said the Greenfield Chamber of Commerce office where she works closed around 2 p.m. ahead of the storm. She emerged from her home to describe widespread damage and scattered debris.

"There’s a pretty significant roof damage to several houses that I know will need whole new roofs," she said. "And I can see from my house it kind of went in a straight line down the road."

In far southwestern Iowa, video posted to social media showed a tornado just northwest of Red Oak. Further east and north, the National Weather Service issued multiple tornado warnings for areas near the towns of Griswold, Corning, Fontanelle and Guthrie Center, among others.

Iowa was already braced for severe weather after the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center gave most of the state a high chance of seeing severe thunderstorms with the potential for strong tornadoes. Des Moines public schools ended classes two hours early and canceled all evening activities ahead of the storms.

Earlier in the day, residents to the west in Omaha, Nebraska, awoke to weather sirens blaring and widespread power outages as torrential rain, high winds and large hail pummeled the area. Thousands of customers lost power and the deluge of more than 5 inches (12.7 centimeters) of rain in less than two hours flooded basements and submerged cars. Television station KETV showed firefighters arriving to rescue people from vehicles.

In Illinois, dust storms forced authorities to shut down stretches of two interstates due to low visibility. Winds gusts of between 35 mph (56 kph) and 45 mph (74 kph) hit the McLean area, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Chuck Schaffer.

"There is no visibility at times," state police posted on X, formerly Twitter.

The storms follow days of extreme weather that have ravaged much of the middle section of the country. Strong winds, large hail and tornadoes swept parts of Oklahoma and Kansas late Sunday, damaging homes and injuring two in Oklahoma.

Another round of storms Monday night raked Colorado and western Nebraska and saw the city of Yuma, Colorado, blanketed in hail the size of baseballs and golf balls, turning streets into rivers of water and ice. Residents cleaned up Tuesday using heavy construction equipment and snow shovels to clear ice that had piled up knee-deep.

The storm in Yuma shattered vehicle windshields, pounded the siding off buildings and broke many windows. lt also brought heavy rain to the city of about 3,500 people about 40 miles (64 kilometers) west of Nebraska, stranding some cars in the streets. The hail was still about a half-foot deep (1.83 meters deep) on Tuesday morning and front-end loaders were used to move it, said Curtis Glenn, a trustee at Yuma Methodist Church, which had flooding and hail damage.

Glenn, an insurance claims adjuster, said the combined sounds of the hail, rain and wind sounded like "a gun going off while you’re on a train."

"It’s not something you ever want to see or ever want to see again," he said of the storm, the worst he has seen in his years working in the insurance industry.

Last week, deadly storms hit the Houston area in Texas, killing at least seven. Those storms Thursday knocked out power to hundreds of thousands for days, leaving those Texans in the dark and without air conditioning during hot and humid weather. Hurricane-force winds reduced businesses and other structures to debris and shattered glass in downtown skyscrapers.

Tuesday's storms were expected to bring much of the same high winds, heavy rain and large hail to Minnesota, Illinois and part of northern Missouri, said Bob Oravec, lead forecaster with the National Weather Service.

He said the system is expected to turn south on Wednesday, bring more severe weather to parts of Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and southern Missouri.

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