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Tornado 9-1-1 Calls Released

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IOWA CITY On Wednesday, Governor Vilsack will ask President Bush for tornado disaster aid. Now, we're getting a better understanding of the chaos last Thursday night. These are some of the phone calls people made to 9-1-1 as the tornadoes tore through Johnson County.

Operator: 9-1-1 emergency...
Caller: Yeah, there's a cloud with rotation on it, uh, the intersection of 218 and Highway 1, I think.
Operator: Is it on the ground or in the air?
Caller: It's still up in the air, but it's pulling fast, I think.

Operator: 9-1-1 emergency...
Caller: There's another funnel cloud south of Iowa City.
Operator: By Menards?
Caller: No, no farther south of Iowa City.

Operator: 9-1-1 emergency...
Caller: Yeah, the (unintelligible) 942 First Ave.
Operator: In what town?
Caller: Iowa City, Iowa.
Operator: Hang on the line.
Caller: It's coming back down. It's coming back down.
Operator: I need you to calm down, okay?

Operator: 9-1-1.
Caller: We just saw a tornado rip the top off a church. We don't know if anyone's inside.
Operator: Where's it at?
Caller: Court and Linn.

Operator: 9-1-1 emergency...
Caller: I just called a minute ago, the one that's south of Iowa City, that's going to be a big tornado. The funnel cloud is huge.

We all know what happened next. More than 200 homes and other buildings have some damage. It could take weeks for Iowa City to fully recover.

E-mail Jon Ellis at

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