Massive tornado damage in central, south central Iowa

A local resident runs past a tornado-damaged building on Main Street in Marshalltown Iowa

A tornado hit the city of Marshalltown on Thursday, the Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management said.

She said the family sought shelter in the building's basement and heard "cracking and booms and explosions" as the tornado passed.

At the 132-year-old courthouse, a blue tarp flapped over a gaping hole atop the clock tower after the cupola tumbled to the ground.

She says the storm broke out the shop's window, ruined the clothing and hats they had on display and destroyed her husband's vehicle, but she's relieved. "I'm kind of at a loss". "This tornado is outside our front window". "But it can be replaced".

The tornados hit the towns of Marshalltown, Bondurant and Pella the hardest.

The National Weather Service released a preliminary summary of the damage, which is published here. Meteorologist Jeff Johnson said it will take days to determine their strength and total number.

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

A worker cleans up debris from the tornado damaged Marshall County Courthouse's tower
Video: tornadoes rip through Iowa and cause 'catastrophic damage'

Krull said the weather service expected a severe weather threat to remain in effect through 7 p.m.to 8 p.m.as the storms moved east and north.

Vice President of Operations Vince Newendorp says the east half of the company's campus, which includes seven manufacturing buildings, sustained extensive damage. "Our efforts, along with emergency services, are focused on ensuring those on our property during the event are safe and cared for".

Multiple tornadoes tore through central Iowa on Thursday night, taking forecasters by surprise and causing damage in several towns, though authorities had no reports of any deaths. A state of emergency was declared.

There were reports of tornado funnels touching down near Marshalltown, Pella and Valeria. "It's just unbelievable when you take a look at the devastation and destruction that we see".

They said there are no patient or staff injuries reported within the hospital, but the building did sustain structural damage.

The National Weather Service confirmed it was an EF3 tornado, with winds about 144 miles per hour.

Several homes in the city of Bondurant suffered damage, according to KCCI-TV.

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