Officials confirm that at least seven people were killed by tornadoes near Des Moines, Iowa, late Saturday as damage suggested possible tornadoes reached at least an EF-3 status. Six deaths were reported, consisting of four adults and two children under the age of five, on Madison County.
Diogenes Ayala, the director of the Madison County Emergency Management Agency, said at a news conference that the victims were identified as Melissa Bazley, 63, Rodney Clark, 64, Cecilia Lloyd, 72, Michael Bolger, 37, Kenley Bolger, 5 and Owen Bolger, 2. Six other people were injured in Madison County; three of them are in serious condition and one who was transferred to a hospital in Des Moines with life-threatening injuries. The sheriff’s office said in a news release that a seventh death was reported in Chariton, a city in nearby Lucas County, while two additional people suffered injuries in Polk County. Officials said that dozens of homes were lost to damage from the tornados which also downed power lines in the area leaving some without power. Ayala said: “The best thing the community can do is just to not go to these areas. Let people that are living there. Let them clean up and give them some space. This is pretty devastating for our community.”
The National Weather Service said in a statement that Iowa had at least three thunderstorms producing tornados, but it remains unknown exactly how many tornadoes occurred. The NWS said: “Initial interrogation of photos and videos from around Winterset suggests at least EF3 tornado damage occurred late Saturday afternoon. NWS survey teams will be out Sunday to thoroughly investigate the damage and further assess a potential rating.”
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds issued a disaster proclamation for Madison County in response the tornados that will allow for state resources to be used to assist with response and recovery efforts, adding: “Our hearts go out to all those affected by the deadly storms that tore through our state today. 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.”
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