Tornadoes rip through Iowa and cause 'catastrophic damage'

Tornadoes sweep through Iowa major damage and some injuries

A flurry of unexpected tornadoes swept through central Iowa, injuring at least 17 people, flattening buildings in three cities and forcing the evacuation of a hospital.

Marshalltown is located about 50 miles northeast of the state's capital city, Des Moines, and has a population of 27,500 people, Alliant Energy reported 6,690 homes and businesses were without electricity.

City Administrator Jessica Kinser said the damage forced Marshalltown officials to declare a state of emergency.

Brad Linberg captured this video of the tornado moving through Marshalltown, Iowa.

At the UnityPoint Health facility, patients were evacuated to a nearby hospital after the building was damaged by the tornado. A spokesperson was unsure of the severity of the damage.

Damage to production plants at Vermeer Corp, a farm and construction equipment manufacturer in Pella, Iowa.

'If anything, we were expecting we could get some large hail, if strong storms developed'.

Thousands of people are still without power after tornadoes that struck Marshalltown and other Iowa communities.

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Alliant Energy says almost 6,400 Marshalltown customers remained without power Friday morning.

The National Weather Service has declared a tornado emergency for Marshalltown, a town in Marshall County with almost 30,000 residents.

And six homes suffered extensive damage as emergency services were called to Bondurant in Polk County.

The video was taken in Altoona, just east of Des Moines on Thursday afternoon.

The exact number of tornadoes and their strength will be determined after further analysis. The company's vice president of operations says the plant activated its storm warning system and workers where in shelters when the storm hit. They were later released after suffering minor injuries, police said.

Vermeer CEO Jason Andringa said about 400 dealers and customers were on site as part of a 70th anniversary event when the severe weather hit.

Reports of "catastrophic damage" came out of Marshalltown, including vehicles overturned and missing, tops of buildings gone, trees down and utility lines damaged, according to the National Weather Service.

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