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Rural Iowa hit with two dozen tornadoes

By Eric DuVall
Rural Iowa hit with two dozen tornadoes
Part of a farm in rural southwestern Iowa was destroyed when a tornado touched down. More than 25 twisters were reported in the region Thursday. Photo courtesy Linn County Sheriff's Department/Twitter

June 29 (UPI) -- A severe storm system sprouted more than two dozen tornadoes Thursday, mostly in Iowa, meteorologists said, injuring at least two people and leaving thousands without power.

The hardest hit areas were in southwest and central Iowa. The small town of Prairieburg, Iowa, was the population center that sustained the heaviest damage, with several buildings on the southern edge of town badly damaged or destroyed. The National Weather Service said it received reports of a twister and baseball-sized hail in the area, according to the Des Moines Register.

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Residents outside Shenandoah, Iowa, near the Nebraska border, told the Omaha World-Herald they were blindsided when a tornado touched down in what seemed like ordinary weather. Resident Dee Ossian, 66, told the paper she and her two grandsons were sitting on their porch watching the storms gather in the distance when, in a matter of moments, an apparent tornado formed over their home. As the trio rushed to a storm cellar in the yard, the two boys, ages 12 and 7, began to be blown across the property by the force of the wind. Ossian said the older boy grabbed his brother and they crawled to the cellar where they rode out the storm. When they emerged, the roof on their house and been ripped off and several trees were uprooted.

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A neighbor, Molly Glenn, told a similar story. A weather app on her smartphone alerted her to a tornado warning, but when she looked out the window there were none of the telltale signs: dark clouds, high wind, rain or hail. Then she heard the trademark sound of a freight train and rushed her two young children to the basement.

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When she emerged, she said there was "glass everywhere and it was raining in our dining room."

The Linn County Sheriff's Department said one person suffered non-life-threatening injuries when part of the roof of a home collapsed, trapping a woman inside. Other residents reported riding out the storm inside a shelter in a Walmart.

Several utilities in the region reported pockets of customers in rural areas where power was out as of Wednesday night.

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More severe weather was possible in the upper Midwest on Thursday, with the danger of thunderstorm systems producing tornadoes in Nebraska and elsewhere, forecasters said.

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