HomeNewsIowa Gov. Issues Disaster Proclamation After Tornado Kills Seven: Report

Iowa Gov. Issues Disaster Proclamation After Tornado Kills Seven: Report

by TK Sanders
(Photo Courtesy of the Committee on Arrangements for the 2020 Republican National Committee via Getty Images)

At around 4:35 PM Friday, storm chasers and the Des Moines office of the National Weather Service warned Iowa residents of massive tornadoes heading through parts of the state. Weather services forecasted winds up to 60 mph, one-inch diameter hail, and possible tornadoes all through Friday evening and into Saturday evening, as well. They also predicted flooding in northern parts of Iowa where ice jams could develop due to cold river runoff. The destruction was even more severe than anticipated.

At a glance

  • National Weather Services predicted a series of tornadoes early this weekend in Iowa
  • One particular twister killed six in one neighborhood; a seventh adult is also confirmed dead
  • Emergency shelters are being put in place

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds issued a disaster proclamation for Madison County late Saturday night. She issued the proclamation in response to Saturday’s tornado and severe weather that killed six in Winterset, including two children younger than 5 years old.

“Our hearts go out to all those affected by the deadly storms that tore through our state today,” Reynolds said in a press release. “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.”

Madison County Emergency Management Director Diogenes Ayala said four adults and two small children died Saturday when a tornado struck a neighborhood by Carver Road. The house was approximately 3 miles southwest of Winterset.

The tornado hit about 25 to 30 homes in the Winterset-adjacent area. The fatalities were in different homes, though, Ayala said. After hitting the neighborhood, the tornado continued northeast through Madison County.

“On Carver Road we saw the biggest impact of the tornadoes,” Ayala said. “On both sides there was a big impact to housing. Many people lost their houses.”

In addition to the deaths, four other adults suffered critical injuries, three of which are considered life-threatening, Ayala said. He also said the city set up an emergency shelter at New Bridge Church at 1305 W. Jefferson St. in Winterset for anyone needing assistance.

“This is the worst that anyone’s seen in quite a long time,” Ayala said. “This will be impactful for many years to come.”

Much of Iowa looks like a war zone after the tornadoes

State officials confirmed the seventh death late Saturday evening from Lucas County, in Chariton, Iowa. Other surrounding counties like Polk and Jasper also reported multiple injuries, downed power lines, debris blocking roads, and more signs of general destruction.

Madison County Sheriff Jason Barnes said it “looks like a bomb went off” in his town.

“I’m not going to sugarcoat it. It’s bad. Leveled houses, trees. Just unbelievable,” he said, adding that the Iowa tornadoes were worse than experts could even predict. “I knew to be watching it, to be paying attention. I knew it was a possibility. But nobody expected it at that level.”