Powerful Tornado Leaves 6 Dead in Iowa

'This is the worst anyone has seen in a very long time'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 6, 2022 5:30 AM CST
6 Dead After Powerful Tornado in Iowa
Members of the Winterset Fire Department embrace after a long evening responding to emergency calls after a tornado touched down west of Winterset, Iowa.   (Bryon Houlgrave/The Des Moines Register via AP)

Six people were killed Saturday when a tornado swept through central Iowa, damaging buildings and knocking down trees and power lines, authorities said. Emergency management officials in Madison County said four were injured in addition to those killed when the tornado touched down in the area southwest of Des Moines about 4:30pm, per the AP. Among those killed were children and adults. Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds issued a disaster proclamation for the county, which allows state resources to be used to assist with response and recovery efforts.

Madison County Emergency Management Director Diogenes Ayala said 25 to 30 homes were badly damaged by the tornado. “This is the worst anyone has seen in a very long time," he said. Officials didn't identify those killed but said they were not all in the same location. The National Weather Service in Des Moines tweeted Saturday that initial photos and videos from the damage around the community of Winterset suggested it was at least an EF-3 tornado, capable of causing severe damage, on the Enhanced Fujita scale.

Wendy Burkett told the Des Moines Register she and two daughters were in their house Saturday when her husband, Tony, called and alerted her about a tornado warning. Burkett said she came outside and joined him in front of the house. “And then we saw it. The tornado,” she said. “There was debris flying around and it was getting louder and louder.” They hurried with their daughters to their basement as the tornado roared by within seconds. As they clung to each other, a window shattered and water began spewing from the pipes, she said. But within about a minute, the tornado passed by, and while the family was unhurt, their home was in ruins.

(Read more tornado stories.)

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