- Associated Press - Monday, April 28, 2014

OTTUMWA, Iowa (AP) - Powerful winds that swept through southeastern Iowa destroyed numerous farm buildings and damaged homes, killing one woman and injuring several others, authorities said Monday.

Keokuk County emergency management coordinator Larry Smith said the woman died in a rural area near Kinross when either a tornado or powerful straight-line winds caused a farm building to collapse. He said National Weather Service radar indicated some rotations in the storm, and its meteorologists were still assessing the intensity Monday.

Gov. Terry Branstad offered condolences to the family of the woman, whose name is being withheld pending notification of relatives, and those who were impacted by the storm.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and with all the people who have suffered losses as a result of this series of storms,” he said at his weekly news conference in Des Moines.

The National Weather Service says the storms damaged a number of Iowa towns as gusts neared 90 mph and hail up to an inch in diameter fell on Sunday.

Smith said another person was critically injured near Martinsburg, when a barn was blown over and sent debris flying. The county has “widespread damage” to farm buildings, barns and machine sheds from the wind, which also snapped off about 10 utility poles in two locations.

Farmers were starting to clean up their fields Monday.

In Ottumwa, at least four people were injured at a home auction on the city’s south side when they were hit by flying debris, Fire Chief Tony Miller said. The extent of their injuries was unclear, but some of the victims went to the hospital, he said.

“The storm came up on them pretty abruptly,” Miller said. “They weren’t able to take shelter.”

Ottumwa spokesman Tom Rodgers said tree damage was widespread across the city, and chain saws were buzzing as residents started cleaning up. He said one furniture store and one restaurant suffered roof damage, as did homes in isolated parts of the city.

Stefanie Bond, a spokeswoman for Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management, said state officials were still collecting damage reports but that most of the impact appeared to be to farm buildings in rural southeastern Iowa. She said the roof was blown off of a family medical center in Oskaloosa.



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