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Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Latest round of storms brought winds, hail and tornadoes to Midwest
Eastern Iowa saw hail and strong wind gusts, and tornadoes were reported in south-central Iowa and Illinois.
Several rounds of severe thunderstorms sailed through Eastern Iowa, northwest Illinois and northeast Missouri on Tuesday and Wednesday — only days after a destructive tornado outbreak ravaged seven Iowa counties.
As predicted by meteorologists at the National Weather Service’s Quad Cities bureau, three waves of storms passed through the region.
The first began early Tuesday morning, dropping hail as large as tea cups in Davenport. Once the supercells passed to the Illinois side of the Quad Cities, a very strong downdraft surge brought wind gusts up to 90 mph, prompting a brief tornado.
“The tornado was captured on video, ripping the entire roof off a gas station and tossing it into a brick building just to the south,” the weather service’s Quad Cities bureau said, labeling the tornado an EF2. “The front wall of the building also collapsed.”
The second round started early Tuesday afternoon and featured strong winds, hail and at least one tornado that tracked through two Illinois counties.
The final round, prompted by a strong cold front, approached late Tuesday night and into Wednesday morning. The storms intensified upon crossing the Mississippi River into Illinois, producing 60 mph wind gusts and large hail the size of ping pong balls.
National Weather Service’s Quad Cities teams are still out surveying the storms, their damage and potential tornadoes.
Farther west, the weather service’s Des Moines bureau investigated a high-end EF1 tornado that struck around Pleasantville and Knoxville in south-central Iowa. It trailed about 15 miles at a maximum width of 50 yards from 6:43 p.m. to 7:06 p.m. Tuesday. Its estimated peak wind speed reached 110 mph.
Homes, outbuildings and farm equipment were damaged. There were no injuries or fatalities.
Gov. Kim Reynolds issued a disaster proclamation for Marion and Warren counties on Wednesday.
While Eastern Iowa was largely spared from widespread damage, the band of storms brought devastation farther south. A tornado struck southeastern Missouri early Wednesday morning, causing at least five fatalities and unknown injuries, according to reporting from USA Today.
Brittney J. Miller is the Energy & Environment Reporter for The Gazette and a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on under-covered issues.
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