Death tolls climbs to seven in severe weather outbreak

Published: Mar. 5, 2022 at 9:35 PM CST|Updated: Mar. 6, 2022 at 3:00 AM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG/AP) - At least seven people have been killed following a severe weather outbreak across the state of Iowa Saturday.

Officials in Madison County said four adults and two children are confirmed dead there after a tornado - rated initially as at least an EF3 tornado - tore through the county. Emergency management officials said the tornado hit the community of Winterset after 4:30 p.m. Search and rescue operations continued into Saturday night as authorities look for additional storm victims.

The National Weather Service in Des Moines tweeted later 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. It said weather service teams would investigate the damage Sunday and further assess a potential rating.

Nearby Norwalk suffered extensive damage as well. A majority of the damage occurred on the south end of the Des Moines suburb. No injuries have been reported there.

In southern Iowa, one person was killed in Lucas County where significant damage was reported south and east of Chariton.

The storm continued to move across the state of Iowa with tornado reports continuing in Eastern Iowa. Witnesses tell KCRG-TV9 they believe a tornado struck northwest Vinton. Benton County Emergency Management officials said damage has been reported to the industrial area of the community and a neighboring mobile home park. Officials from the Red Cross are responding to the city. No injuries have been reported in Benton County as of 11:15 p.m. Saturday.

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds late Saturday issued a disaster proclamation for Madison County.

“Our hearts go out to all those affected by the deadly storms that tore through our state today,” said Gov. Reynolds. “Kevin and I join with Iowans in prayer for those that lost their lives and those injured. Our hearts ache during this time, but I know Iowans will step up and come together to help in this time of need—they already are.”

Additional counties may be added to the proclamation in coming days.

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