Central Iowa was reeling Wednesday morning after what police described as a “devastating” tornado laid waste to rural communities and killed an unknown number of people.

Iowa State Police confirmed a number of people had died in the town of Greenfield Tuesday, a community of about 2,000 people 40 miles southwest of Des Moines.

Sgt. Alex Dinkla said in a news conference that at least 12 people were treated in hospitals — although the town’s Adair County Memorial Hospital was also damaged, forcing first responders to take victims to facilities elsewhere.

The severe weather is expected to move away from the Midwest and toward the Southern Plains and Mississippi Valley on Wednesday, the National Weather Service said, with large hail, wind damage and tornadoes likely across Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas.

Aerial footage from Greenfield, Iowa, shot late Tuesday showed entire streets that were in the path of the tornado turned to wreckage, with piles of debris among broken trees and demolished cars.

Tornado damage in Greenfield, Iowa, on Tuesday.Charlie Neibergall / AP

A man in nearby Red Oak, Montgomery County, captured footage of an enormous funnel cloud moving through the area as sirens wailed and intense rain fell.

Montgomery County Emergency Management said in a statement that multiple confirmed tornadoes damaged at least 28 homes, with the damage ranging from “affected to destroyed.”

Wind turbines were left in ruin near Prescott, Iowa. And the wind was strong enough near the town of Nevada, Iowa, to topple a semi-truck which had stopped on a highway due to the extreme conditions. There has been no report of related casualties.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds declared a disaster in 15 counties and was due to visit the area on Wednesday.

Deadly tornado obliterates Iowa town as severe weather moves south.
The remains of a tornado-damaged wind turbine lie in a field near Prescott, Iowa, on Tuesday.Charlie Neibergall / AP

The situation is so severe in Iowa that the NWS said it would deploy three teams from its Des Moines office to survey the tornado damage, with the results expected Wednesday night.

Elsewhere, in Colorado large hailstones stripped the cladding from buildings and shattering car windows — NBC affiliate KUSA of Denver reported that the hail was at times baseball-sized.

In Omaha, Nebraska, cars were swept away by raging flood waters caused by between 4 and 8 inches of rain, leaving some stranded.

Deadly tornado obliterates Iowa town as severe weather moves south
A damaged car sits on a street in Greenfield, Iowa., on Tuesday. Charlie Neibergall / AP

NBC affiliate WOWT of Omaha spoke to local man Mike Troy, a school football coach, whose home was on a newly-created island. The water was not considered deep enough to justify a rescue, he said.

More than 70,000 energy customers were still without power in Texas after a torrid few days of severe weather as of 6 a.m. ET, according to energy connection tracker PowerOutage.us, while 67,000 were also without power in Wisconsin.


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