Multiple fatalities and injuries confirmed as tornadoes devastate counties in Iowa, according to State Police

Several tornadoes touched down near Des Moines, Iowa on Tuesday, causing significant damage and putting millions of people in states from the Great Plains to the Midwest at risk.

During a news conference on Tuesday night, Sergeant Alex Dinkla of the Iowa State Patrol reported that a powerful tornado had struck the town of Greenfield, Iowa, which is situated southwest of Des Moines. This destructive tornado resulted in multiple fatalities and injuries in the area.

Despite sustaining tornado damage, the team at Adair County Memorial Hospital in Greenfield was able to continue providing essential medical care to patients. They even went above and beyond by arranging transportation for some patients to nearby hospitals for additional treatment.

Officials were working diligently on Tuesday night to conduct search efforts and ensure an accurate count of those affected, according to the officer.

“We are confident that we have accounted for everyone, but we are conducting thorough searches to ensure no one is left behind,” he confidently stated.

Tornado watches have been issued by the National Weather Service for several states including Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota, Missouri, Arkansas, Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, Kansas, and Oklahoma. These watches are in effect until Tuesday night.

The National Weather Service has issued several tornado warnings, stating that nearly the entire state of Iowa is currently under a “Particularly Dangerous Situation.”

On Tuesday, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds declared a state of emergency for 15 counties in Iowa.

The following counties are included: Adair, Adams, Cass, Clay, Hardin, Harrison, Jasper, Kossuth, Marshall, Montgomery, Page, Palo Alto, Pottawattamie, Tama, and Warren.

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A series of videos captured by ABC affiliate station WOI in Des Moines show a significant funnel cloud touching down in Greenfield.

On Tuesday, as WOI reporter Dana Searles surveyed the damage in Des Moines, she expressed her observations, stating, “This small community has suffered significant destruction, with a large portion completely devastated. However, I must note that about half of it remains intact. Based on my assessment, it appears that approximately 75% of the area is currently reduced to rubble.”

Forecasters are predicting that Des Moines, Chicago, and Milwaukee will experience damaging winds of 70 to 90 mph from Tuesday afternoon into the evening.

Severe weather is currently wreaking havoc across the Great Plains and the Midwest, as more than 100 severe storms were reported on Monday, spanning from Colorado to Michigan.

On Monday, three tornadoes were reported in Minnesota, Nebraska, and Colorado. Fortunately, these tornadoes did not cause any significant damage.

In northeast Colorado’s Yuma, a severe hailstorm wreaked havoc, damaging cars and buildings with hail ranging from golf ball to softball size. The intensity of the hail was such that it led to multiple vehicles getting stuck in the deep accumulation, according to JJ Unger, a volunteer Yuma firefighter who spoke to ABC News on Tuesday.

According to Unger, the hailstorm was reminiscent of a blizzard, lasting for about 30 minutes. He mentioned that it was the most prolonged hailstorm he had ever witnessed.

While out spotting for possible tornadoes on Monday evening, Unger and his fire crew were caught in a sudden hailstorm after being struck by lightning.

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“It was an incredibly intense experience,” Unger recalled. He emphasized the urgency of the situation, explaining that he and his crew had no choice but to pull over and find shelter due to the near-zero visibility.

When the hail finally stopped, Unger was astonished to find that his fire engine and the surrounding roads were completely buried under a foot of hail.

Hail that was two inches in diameter pelted Dundy County in Nebraska’s southwest corner, as confirmed by local emergency management officials. Additionally, winds exceeding 90 mph were recorded in the same county.

The middle of this week could see temperatures reaching close to 90 degrees in Philadelphia, New York City, and Washington, D.C.

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