Officials: Damage in Iowa from storm, tornadoes

BELMOND – Multiple tornadoes on Wednesday caused by a massive line of storms “completely damaged” at least two businesses and a home in northern Iowa, according to authorities surveying reports of wreckage.

Stephanie Bond with Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management said officials in Wright County reported the damage following reports of multiple tornadoes in the area. There were no reports of injuries or deaths.

“We’re just happy that we don’t have reports of injuries or fatalities,” she said. “We just hope the extent of the damage is minimal.”

Bond said multiple homes and businesses were damaged in nearby Franklin County, and power lines and trees were knocked down. In Alexander, a vehicle was flattened and flipped over.

Duwayne Abel, owner of Cattleman’s Steaks & Provisions restaurant in Belmond, said a tornado swooped through his business’ parking lot and demolished part of the building. No one was in the restaurant at the time.

“I was, oh, eight miles west of town and I looked toward town and I could see a funnel cloud, having no idea it was exactly where our restaurant was,” he said. His wife and an employee were able to get out of the restaurant and sought shelter in a basement.

Alliant Energy reported more than 2,700 customers were without power Wednesday night near Mason City in Cerro Gordo County, which also is being affected by the severe weather.

“A lot of debris has been flying into transmission lines,” said company spokesman Justin Foss.

The National Weather Service said spotters reported multiple tornadoes in the area, but a final tally will not be available until Thursday, when officials can survey damage. Meteorologist Kurt Kotenberg said at least two tornadoes were reported and photographed alongside one another near Hampton.

“It is pretty rare,” he said of the two tornadoes so close to each other. “A lot of it has to do with the moisture in the lower levels of the atmosphere.”