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InternationalTuesday's ghastly tornadoes leave five dead and at least 35 injured in...

Tuesday’s ghastly tornadoes leave five dead and at least 35 injured in Iowa


Tornadoes wreaked havoc in Iowa, leaving five dead and 35 injured, particularly impacting Greenfield. Severe extended to Illinois and Wisconsin.

Five people died and at least 35 were hurt as powerful tornadoes ripped through Iowa Tuesday, with one carving a path of destruction through the town of Greenfield, officials said.

The Iowa Department of Public Safety said Wednesday that four people had been killed in the Greenfield area. Officials did not release the names of those killed in the storm because they were still notifying relatives.

The numbers released Wednesday bring the total number of deaths to five after authorities announced previously that a woman in a vehicle had been killed by a twister about 25 miles (40 kilometers) from Greenfield. The Iowa Department of Public Safety said Wednesday it's believed that the number of people injured is likely higher.

The Greenfield tornado left a wide swath of obliterated homes, splintered trees and crumpled cars in the town of 2,000 about 55 miles (88.5 kilometers) southwest of Des Moines. The twister also ripped apart and crumpled massive power-producing wind turbines several miles outside the town.

Greenfield resident Kimberly Ergish shares her harrowing experience

Greenfield resident Kimberly Ergish, 33, and her husband dug through the debris field Wednesday that used to be their home, looking for family and other salvageable items. There wasn't much left, she acknowledged.

“Most of it we can't save,” she said. “But we're going to get what we can.”

The reality of having her house destroyed in seconds hasn't really set in, she said.

“If it weren't for all the bumps and bruises and the achy bones, I would think that it didn't happen,” she said.

Storms also affected Illinois and Wisconsin

Later Tuesday, the storms pummeled parts of Illinois and Wisconsin, knocking out power to tens of thousands of customers in the two states. The severe weather turned south on Wednesday, and the Weather Service was issuing tornado and flash flood warnings in Texas as parts of the state — including Dallas — were under a tornado watch.

The National Weather Service said initial surveys indicated at least an EF-3 tornado in Greenfield, but additional damage assessment could lead to a more powerful ranking.

The tornado appeared to have been on the ground for more than 40 miles (64 kilometers), AccuWeather Chief Meteorologist Jon Porter said. A satellite photo taken by a BlackSky shows where the twister gouged a nearly straight path of destruction through the town, just south of Greenfield's center square.

The deadly twister was spawned during a historically bad season for tornadoes in the U.S., at a time when climate change is heightening the severity of storms around the world. April had the second-highest number of tornadoes on record in the country.

Through Tuesday, there have been 859 confirmed tornadoes this year, 27% more than the U.S. sees on average, according to NOAA's Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma. So far, Iowa's had the most, with 81 confirmed twisters.

On Tuesday alone, the National Weather Service said it received 23 tornado reports, with most in Iowa and one each in Wisconsin and Minnesota.

The tornado that decimated parts of Greenfield brought to life the worst case scenario in Iowa that weather forecasters had feared, Porter said.

“Debris was lifted thousands of feet in the air and ended up falling to the ground several counties away from Greenfield. That's evidence of just how intense and deadly this tornado was,” Porter said.

People sharing their tornado experiences online

People as far as 100 miles (160 kilometers) away from Greenfield posted photos on Facebook of ripped family photos, yearbook pages and other items that were lifted into the sky by the tornado.

The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

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