Photos: State of emergency declared in Marshalltown, Iowa, following 'catastrophic' EF 3 tornado
By Brian Lada, AccuWeather meteorologist and staff writer
July 20, 2018, 8:26:56 PM EDT
Severe thunderstorms tracked across Iowa on Thursday afternoon with several tornadoes touching down across the state.
One of the strongest storms of the day tracked through Marshalltown, Iowa, located northeast of Des Moines, with multiple reports of tornadoes across the area.
Shortly after the storm passed through the town, a NWS trained weather spotter reported "catastrophic damage, including vehicles missing, vehicles overturned, and tools of buildings gone" near Marshalltown.
The City of Marshalltown declared a state of emergency on Thursday evening following the destructive twister, according to WeAreIowa.com.
At least 17 people were injured, according to the Associated Press. There have been no reports of fatalities, despite extensive damage.
The NWS conducted a damage survey on Friday and concluded that the tornado that hit Marshalltown was an EF 3 with peak winds of 144 mph.
“The tornado that hit Marshalltown and injured 17 people on Thursday was predicted well in advance by both AccuWeather and the National Weather Service. Accuweather issued its first warning at 3:50 p.m. CDT. Four minutes later the National Weather Service issued its first warning. The tornado went through Marshalltown at 4:30 to 4:45 p.m. CDT. There was sufficient advance notice for people to do what they could to get out of harm’s way. Fortunately, no-one was killed, and that is apparently due to the timely warnings,” AccuWeather President and Founder Dr. Joel N. Myers said.
“Even though AccuWeather’s warnings gave several minutes more advance notice, both warnings were issued more than a half an hour out ahead of the tornado. People that use the Accuweather app on their mobile devices received plenty of notice about the impending tornado in Marshalltown,” Myers said. “To protect your family and minimize damage to your property from severe weather events we urge everyone to download the free AccuWeather app. Our mission is to be the leading multimedia weather information source, dedicated to saving lives, protecting property and helping people prosper.”
Thousands of power outages have also been reported across the area.
As AccuWeather accurately predicted, severe weather tore across a swath of the central U.S., including across Kansas, Iowa and Missouri.
"All of the necessary ingredients came together to ignite the severe weather across parts of the central U.S. as chilly air higher in the atmosphere led to volatile conditions. This type of pattern is more typical of spring, when we tend to see more tornadoes than this time of the year," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said.
"AccuWeather meteorologists were concerned about the risk for severe weather, including damaging winds, isolated tornadoes, large hail and flooding downpours, several days out," Sosnowski said.
Before & after images of the Marshalltown courthouse after a massive tornado ripped through the center of town (after photo taken by Jesse Fox) pic.twitter.com/Eq9breOFDY— Iowa Starting Line (@IAStartingLine) July 19, 2018
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Another severe thunderstorm brought a long-duration tornado threat from near Des Moines through Oskaloosa as it tracked across the state.
Damage was reported at a Vermeer plant near Pella, Iowa, following the passage of the tornado-warned storm. This included vehicles at the plant that were tossed and turned in the parking lot.
At least a dozen people were injured at the plant, but no fatalities have been reported.
On Friday, the NWS office in Des Moines stated that after assessing the damage, the tornado that moved through Pella was an EF-3 with winds of 144 mph.
Mainly dry conditions are expected across the region through the weekend which should help crews working to clean up after the storms.
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds said on Twitter that she was "devastated" to see the destruction caused by the tornadoes.
As the severe weather threat shifts east on Friday, keep checking back for the latest forecast information and news from AccuWeather.
BREAKING: Vermeer officials say seven were sent to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. Officials believe all have checked out of the hospital. @KCRG— Forrest Saunders (@FBSaunders) July 20, 2018
Thanks man. I’m in the clear as far as I know but pretty well known plant around here, Vermeer, got hit hard! They employ a lot of ppl there. pic.twitter.com/FF4ezTvIe7— NilboGMorticiaN (@NiLbog_M) July 19, 2018
Marshalltown, Iowa pic.twitter.com/nQSOM9HS39— Denice Pelster (@DenicePelster) July 19, 2018
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