8 Dead in Memorial Day Weekend Twisters

A band of violent weather moving across the country's midsection killed eight more people Sunday as tornadoes, heavy rain and hail belted parts of Iowa and Minnesota, darkening Memorial Day weekend.

The Iowa Homeland Security administrator confirmed that a tornado that ripped through Parkersburg, a small town about 80 miles northeast of Des Moines, killed seven people Sunday. At least 50 injuries were reported, and many of the town's homes and buildings were destroyed.

A warning siren was sounded, but residents said that the storm touched down quickly.

"All I saw was the biggest black wall in my life," Perry Barnard, a Parkersburg resident, told ABC News. "I couldn't tell. I didn't think it was a tornado because it was so wide."

In Minnesota, the tornado damaged about four dozen homes in the St. Paul suburb of Hugo, Minn., and some residents were still unaccounted for, according to the Hugo city administrator. The Washington County Sheriff's Office confirmed that the storm killed a 2-year-old and critically injured the child's sibling.

"All of a sudden, the wind picked up and the glass was breaking," an unidentified Hugo resident said as the cleanup effort began. "We just went by the furnace and huddled together and we just -- I can't even really describe it. It was so terrifying. I was just praying to God please protect us.

More than 300 homes were evacuated in and around Hugo over concerns about downed power lines and possible gas leaks.

Before the Sunday strikes in Iowa and Minnesota, the same weather system spent three days battering rural Oklahoma and Kansas, where it killed two people Friday.

In Garfield County, Okla., the small congregation of 100-year-old Potter Community Church, which was destroyed by a tornado Saturday, gathered for its regular service near the building's wreckage.

The extreme conditions are the result of a large warm weather system moving up from the Plains states that collided with a cold weather system as it moved north toward Minnesota.

The stormy weather is not over yet, as the system is expected to slide east across Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana today and could spawn additional twisters.

Thunderstorms are forecast over much of the central and southern Plains states. Tornadoes could hit parts of southern Kansas, northwest Oklahoma and the Texas panhandle, according to the National Weather Service.

Already, 43 tornadoes have been counted across five states this Memorial Day weekend.

Tornadoes have killed about 100 people in the United States so far this year, the worst toll in a decade, according to the National Weather Service. The peak season for tornadoes is spring and early summer, and then again in the late fall.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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