Multiple Tornadoes Rip Through Iowa
According to the National Weather Service, at least five tornadoes tore through Iowa late Thursday afternoon, devastating several rural communities in their paths. Many homes and businesses in Marshalltown, Bondurant, and Pella were destroyed.
At least 17 injuries required EMS attention, but authorities say no deaths have been reported.
This Facebook live video from the National Weather Service in Des Moines confirms the known facts so far.
More than 400 dealers and customers were visiting Vermeer Corporation headquarters in Pella, Iowa, when a tornado struck around 4 p.m. In addition to tree care and construction equipment, Vermeer is known for making mowing and baling equipment for the agriculture industry.
Soon after the storm passed photos and video footage of the damage began circulating on social media.
Here is a look at the pile of vehicles in the Vermeer parking lot in Pella. There are reports of multiple injuries at the plant. pic.twitter.com/ODtjSyPqIb— WHO-HD Ch. 13 News (@WHOhd) July 19, 2018
“There is significant structural damage and personal property damage across the Vermeer campus,” said Jason Andringa, president and CEO of the company, at a press conference later Thursday night.
He explained that several parts of the campus needed further structural assessment before operations could continue.
“Plant 5 and Plant 6 both have significant structural damage that we believe, at this time, will limit our ability to continue operations. Our waste management facility is a complete loss,” he continued.
All operations, both office and production, were canceled for the rest of Thursday night and Friday.
A number of farms in central Iowa sustained damage as well. Drone footage from KCCI News shows the aftermath.
This is just so sad. A tornado tore through Pella today, hitting Vermeer pretty hard. Here's an aerial view of the aftermath: pic.twitter.com/9YWVhxh3x8— KCCI News (@KCCINews) July 20, 2018
Rebuild and Recover
While rebuilding farms, factories, and homes will take weeks or months, community members across the Hawkeye state say they are determined to recover.
Donations of water and food are already coming in, the Salvation Army is organizing volunteers, and positive #IowaStrong messages are flooding social media.
Despite the devastation, staff of the Times-Republican published a Friday newspaper detailing the storm.
We found a way to get the paper out. pic.twitter.com/UFQ9COfV29— Times-Republican (@marshalltowntr) July 20, 2018
People from neighboring communities and former residents took to social media to share encouragement, prayers, and memories.
To the people of Marshalltown and Pella, it won’t seem like it today or for some time. But whenever Mother Nature throws a punch, Iowa communities just get stronger. In time you will see this come to pass too. #IowaStrong— Mark Nolte (@marknolte) July 20, 2018
Sitting in the airport looking at all of the destruction these tornadoes made back home. Just want to run and help, but can’t. Thoughts and prayers to my old neck of the woods. Hang in there, friends! #IowaStrong— Katelyn Gardner (@KT_Gardner91) July 20, 2018