By Brad Brooks and Steve Gorman

(Reuters) -A powerful tornado ripped through a small Iowa town on Tuesday, killing multiple people and leaving at least a dozen injured, authorities said.

Images from the town of Greenfield show a path of utter destruction, with homes reduced to splinters, debris strewn everywhere and several large wind turbines toppled.

“This tornado has devastated a good portion of this town,” said Sgt. Alex Dinkla, a spokesperson with the Iowa State Patrol, during an evening press conference in Greenfield.

“We can confirm there have been multiple fatalities with this tornado.”

Dinkla did not provide a death toll, but said it may not be before Wednesday that figures could be provided.

At least a dozen people in Greenfield, a town of about 2,000 people, were injured in the twister, Dinkla said. Because the local hospital sustained damage in the storm, those people had to be transferred to facilities in nearby towns.

“I’ve lived here all my life. I’m just praying that everyone was safe, that everybody’s safe, and nobody got hurt,” Valerie Warrior, a Greenfield resident, told CBS affiliate KCCI TV in an interview, standing near some of the demolished dwellings. “It was scary, very scary.”

Other video showed smashed vehicles and heavy damage to a gasoline station in Greenfield, the county seat of Adair County, which along with adjacent Adams County appeared to have borne the brunt of the Iowa storms in the southwestern corner of the state.

At least one person, a woman in Adams County, was listed as a storm-related fatality, the county’s medical examiner Lisa Brown said. She spoke to Reuters by phone but said she could not yet provide more details.

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds declared a “disaster emergency” for 15 counties, including Adair and Adams, allowing state resources to be readily utilized in responding to the storm.

Also in Adams County, at least three wind turbines standing about 25 stories high were nearly snapped in half, with one catching fire, KCCI reported. It said several other wind turbines were damaged in Adair County.

© Reuters. Volunteers clean up after a tornado touched down in Nevada, Iowa, U.S. May 21, 2024. Nirmalendu Majumdar/Ames Tribune/USA Today Network via REUTERS

The National Weather Service had issued tornado warnings and severe thunderstorm advisories for much of Iowa and several other Midwestern states on Tuesday, including parts of Minnesota, and Wisconsin.

Earlier in the day, the weather service confirmed at least one tornado over Rollingstone, Minnesota.


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