Forecasters say at least three tornadoes touched down in Iowa during Tuesday’s severe storms, and several funnel clouds were spotted.
Meteorologist Barbara Mayes, with the National Weather Service, says a damage assessment team spent much of Wednesday investigating the destruction.
Mayes says the first of the twisters landed in western Iowa’s Harrison County. She says it set down southeast of the town of Missouri Valley, “and it stayed on the ground for about 12 miles before it lifted, southeast of Woodbine.” Mayes says most of the damage from that tornado was minor.
“Mainly damage to outbuildings, grain bins,” she says. “There was a home that sustained damage to its porch.” Another tornado carved an 11-mile trail across Madison County, destroying at least one home and several farm buildings. A third tornado set down in Cass County, damaging more buildings over its three-mile path.
Mayes says the damage assessment team looks for a variety of things in determining if the wreckage was caused by just strong winds versus a tornado. “How the damage fell on the ground,” Mayes says. “Tree damage indicates that the winds were blowing inward, toward each other and that kind of indicates a swirl. To see if debris was lofted up into trees.” She urges all Iowans to get weather radios and leave them on for the rest of the summer.
Funnel clouds were spotted Tuesday near several towns, including: Anita, Creston, Lorimor and Norwalk. Funnel clouds are rotating columns of air that are not in contact with the ground. Once a funnel cloud touches down, it’s a tornado.