7 dead, including 2 children, as major tornado hits Iowa

The tornado hit Winterset, Iowa, on Saturday.

March 5, 2022, 11:55 PM

Seven people, including two children, were killed when a powerful tornado ripped across central Iowa on Saturday.

One person was killed near Chariton, Iowa, Lucas County Emergency Management Coordinator Mike Lamb told ABC News on Sunday.

The Madison County Emergency Management Agency said in addition to the six deaths in Madison Country, at least four adults were injured. One of those people suffered life-threatening injuries, while the other three are considered serious.

Both children who were killed were under the age of 5, officials said.

At least an EF-3 tornado ripped through the Winterset, Iowa, area just southwest of Des Moines, at about 4:30 p.m. local time, according to the National Weather Service.

PHOTO: A tornado of at least EF-3 hit Winterset, Iowa, on March 5, 2022, according to the National Weather Service.
A tornado of at least EF-3 hit Winterset, Iowa, on March 5, 2022, according to the National Weather Service.

"Initial interrogation of photos and videos from around Winterset suggests at least EF3 tornado damage occurred late Saturday afternoon," the Des Moines NWS office wrote on Twitter. "NWS survey teams will be out Sunday to thoroughly investigate the damage and further assess a potential rating.”

Photos and video from several cities across central Iowa showed severely damaged homes.

Diogenes Ayala, director of Madison County Emergency Management Agency, said at a press conference the victims were found at multiple locations. He does not believe anyone remains unaccounted for.

"Everyone's been all hands on deck," Ayala said. "As soon as it hit the ground, people were out looking to assist, search and rescue efforts, so it's been nonstop. And we'll be doing this all night."

Ayala said about 25 to 30 homes were destroyed in an area just north of Winterset.

"This is the worst that anyone's seen in quite a long time," he added.

The Red Cross has set up an emergency center in New Bridge Church in Winterset, officials said.

"Our hearts and prayers go out to all those affected by today’s tragic storms that ripped through our state," Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds wrote on Twitter.

Reynolds also issued a disaster proclamation in Madison County.

ABC News' Darren Reynolds and Keith Harden contributed to this report.

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