Multiple People Dead, Dozens Injured After Tornado Strikes Small Town in Iowa: 'It's Awful'

Authorities have not released an official number of fatalities, though reports suggest at least three people have died

<p>AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall</p> Locals survey damage from the tornado that ripped through Greenfield, Iowa on Tuesday, May 21

AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall

Locals survey damage from the tornado that ripped through Greenfield, Iowa on Tuesday, May 21

Multiple people have been killed and dozens more injured after a tornado ripped through Iowa, according to authorities.

The National Weather Service issued a tornado warning for the deadly storm system just after 3:30 p.m. local time on Tuesday, May 21.

Initial storm surveys confirmed the tornado in Greenfield — a town of about 2,100 people, according to U.S. Census data — caused “at least EF-3 damage," according to the agency.

Iowa State Patrol Sgt. Alex Dinkla confirmed the tornado caused “fatalities and injuries within the community of Greenfield,” but did not offer specific numbers, according to a news release from the Iowa Department of Public Safety.

Related: 3 Dead After Tornadoes Hit Tennessee, North Carolina: 'All Hell Breaking Loose'

Among those killed are an unidentified couple and a third individual, according to The Weather Channel. Cynthia Jenson, a cousin of one of the victims, said she knew all three individuals.

“It was heartbreaking,” Jenson told the station while describing the damage she witnessed. “I mean, there are houses that are gone that you always saw. You knew the landmarks in town to get to where you needed to go. So yeah, it’s awful.”

<p>AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall</p> Damage from the tornado that hit Greenfield, Iowa on Tuesday, May 21

AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall

Damage from the tornado that hit Greenfield, Iowa on Tuesday, May 21

Drone footage captured by professional storm chasers Reed Timmer and Mike Scantlin showed the massive twister barrelling through the small town.

Several wind turbines were knocked down by the twister, which storm chasers also filmed.

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The Adair County Memorial Hospital sustained damage as well, though teams still “worked swiftly to assist the injured,” according to Dinkla.

The Greenfield Community School District is serving as both a reunification point and a temporary shelter following the storm, according to the sergeant.

Related: At Least 5 People, Including a Baby, Dead After Tornadoes Hit Oklahoma and Iowa

“This town has a long road ahead of them, but if their actions today are any indication of what lies ahead, they will emerge stronger and more united than ever before,” Dinkla told reporters Tuesday evening.

A food and water donation site has been established at the Department of Transportation (DOT) Facility at 2313 Highway 92, Dinkla added.

“The community of Greenfield has shown incredible unity during this challenging time, with neighbors and friends displaying remarkable compassion, empathy, and support,” Dinkla said at Tuesday’s press conference.

Related: 1 Dead in Oklahoma as Tornadoes Touch Down in Multiple States amid Severe Weather Outbreak

At least 20 tornadoes touched down across the Midwest on Tuesday, according to ABC News. At least 18 twisters were recorded in Iowa, CNN reported.

Tornadoes have been ravaging the Midwest and Southern states since March, and more are expected on Wednesday. This time, the highest risk for twisters is in portions of central and eastern Texas, southwest Arkansas and northwest Louisiana, according to the NWS Storm Prediction Center.

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