Thursday, November 12, 2015

Multiple tornadoes hit during powerful storm system

Traffic heads eastward into an intense storm that raked across the Des Moines metro on Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2015, The storm caused numerous damages, included damage to the roof of the Wal-Mart in Knoxville,
 Bryon Houlgrave/The Register

by Charly Haley:

DES MOINES — A swift line of tornadoes and thunderstorms severed tree limbs and power lines and tore off roofs as it marched across Iowa on Wednesday.

There were 10 reports of tornadoes across Iowa on Wednesday, according to the Storm Prediction Center.

Some damage on Des Moines' south side, including to Iowa National Guard facilities at the airport, was attributed to a funnel cloud on the ground.

The storms started in western Iowa and moved east. At about 2 p.m., an apparent tornado hit Corning, damaging three buildings in the industrial park on the west side of town, according to reports compiled by the National Weather Service.

About 40 people were briefly evacuated from the industrial park in Corning after the storm caused an argon gas leak, said Adams County Emergency Manager Don Willett. No one was injured.

Emergency officials received multiple reports of semi trucks being blown over in many regions of Iowa. A high wind warning for much of the state remains in effect through today.

By the time severe weather pushed out of the state, at about 7 p.m., meteorologists had issued 20 tornado warnings, and trained spotters confirmed several funnel clouds. Survey teams will confirm whether damage was caused by tornadoes or by strong straight-line winds.

Winterset High School and the county historical museum were reportedly damaged by a possible twister in Madison County. In Des Moines, windows were blown out of homes and a glass factory, the National Weather Service said. Southeast of Des Moines in Knoxville, emergency crews were called to Walmart at about 4 p.m. because of severe storm damage. A 911 dispatcher said that the store was evacuated, but that no one was injured.

Tornadoes are rare in November, according to a weather service report.

The last time multiple tornadoes were reported in November in Iowa was Nov. 12, 2005, when a string of storms rampaged through central Iowa.

Woodward and Stratford were hit hardest; a woman died in Stratford, the only person ever killed by an Iowa tornado in November. A tornado warning in Ames prompted the evacuation of Jack Trice Stadium hours before an Iowa State University football game.

A total of 12 tornadoes were confirmed that night. Before 2005, the last report of a November tornado in Iowa was one tornado on Nov. 29, 1991.

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