Tornado Cuts a 20-mile Path of Damage in Central Iowa

October 4, 2007

Officials were inspecting damage Monday, Oct. 1st from a tornado that cut a 20-mile long path across four central Iowa counties.

The tornado dropped out of storms that developed late Sunday afternoon, bringing high wind, heavy rain and large hail to the area. The tornado formed north of Pella in Marion County and moved into Mahaska County before sweeping into Jasper and Poweshiek counties, said Craig Cogil, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Des Moines.

He said a second, smaller tornado also touched down in Poweshiek County.

Jasper County was the hardest hit with at least three homes sustaining major structural damage and eight others sustaining moderate damage, Sheriff Mike Balmer said.

Jim Sparks, the county’s emergency management coordinator, said the storm also caused extensive damage to at least eight farmsteads, with grain bins, barns and machine sheds being destroyed.

Sparks said he had not yet determined an estimate of damage.

Balmer said a business just across the county line in Mahaska County, Co-Line Welding Inc., south of Sully, sustained extensive damage, losing several steel buildings and having the roof blown off another building.

Despite the structural damage left behind, Balmer said “we’re very fortunate that no one was injured.”

In Poweshiek County, the storms knocked down power lines and trees with damage being reported to numerous farm buildings, officials with the sheriff’s office said.

Cogil said the National Weather Service sent a survey team to inspect the damage path and determine the strength of the tornadoes. The weather service was expected to release that information later in the day, Cogil said.

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