At least a dozen tornadoes swept across Iowa and caused 17 injuries last Thursday, the National Weather Service has determined, including ones that walloped Marshalltown and Pella.
Those two tornadoes, which the weather service rated as “strong” EF-3 tornadoes with peak winds of 144 mph, caused the most damage of Thursday’s storms.
In Pella, the storm directly struck the Vermeer Corp. equipment manufacturing plant as it was hosting a customer appreciation event, causing minor injuries.
The company almost immediately said it would rebuild.
“It will likely be a while before the Vermeer mile is back up and running the way it was,” Vermeer Chief Executive Officer and President Jason Andringa told the Oskaloosa Herald.
However, he told the newspaper, is hopeful that by the end of the week the complex could be running at about 50 percent of its normal operating capacity.
In Marshalltown, one of the city’s biggest employers — the Lennox Industries manufacturing plant — caused angst when it issued a statement last week that did not commit to rebuilding the badly damaged plant.
But on Monday, the heating, air conditioning and refrigeration company was expected to commit to rebuilding, according to the Marshalltown Times-Republican.
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Gov. Kim Reynolds, acting Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg and Economic Development Director Debi Durham met Monday with leaders of Lennox.
Marshalltown Mayor Joel Greer was planning to make an official announcement.
“I’m so excited, I could pee my pants,” Greer told the newspaper.
Tornadoes are rated on a scale of EF-0 to the “catastrophic” EF-5. The EF-3 tornadoes that hit Marshalltown and Pella are the strongest the state has seen since 2015, according to National Weather Service data.