IOWA (NYTIMES) – At least seven people were killed, including two children, in Iowa on Saturday (March 5) as communities across the state were battered by what authorities said appeared to be tornadoes.
Six of the deaths occurred in Madison County, and a seventh was reported in Chariton, a city in Lucas County, officials said.
In Madison County, four adults were injured, including three who were in serious condition and one who had life-threatening injuries, said Mr Diogenes Ayala, the director of the Madison County Emergency Management Agency.
“The best thing the community can do is just to not go to these areas,” he said at a news conference late Saturday. “Let people that are living there – let them clean up. Give them some space. This is pretty devastating for our community.”
Mr Ayala said that people should call authorities if they know someone who is missing.
The deaths in Madison County – including two children under age 5 – occurred at different locations. Mr Ayala did not disclose more details about the deaths because some victims’ families had yet to be notified.
He estimated that 25 to 30 homes had been destroyed but said a fuller assessment would come in the morning.
The National Weather Service said that a preliminary examination of photos and videos from around Winterset, a city in Madison County, suggested damage from a tornado with wind speeds of more than 135 mph.
The agency’s survey teams will further investigate the damage on Sunday, officials said.
Video posted on social media and recorded south of Winterset showed the aftermath of the severe weather: piles of debris, smoke and a car flipped upside down.
Officials in Lucas County did not release details about the death there, also because family members had not been notified.
Another person was seriously injured, a few had minor injuries, and four to six homes in the rural area were “majorly impacted”, Mr Mike Lamb, the emergency management coordinator for Lucas County, said late on Saturday.