Iowa tornado aftermath: 7 deaths reported, road closures and power outages persist in Polk County

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The National Weather Service in Des Moines plans to survey the storm damage on Sunday and through the upcoming week.

IOWA, USA — EDITOR’S NOTE: The above video is from Pleasant Hill, Iowa

A tornado in Madison County killed six people Saturday — four adults and two children under the age of five — and injured four other adults, Madison County Emergency Management announced at a press conference.

Emergency managers in Lucas County confirmed an additional fatality in a rural area southeast of Chariton, bringing the storm’s death toll up to seven in central Iowa.

On Sunday, Madison County Emergency Management identified the six victims as:

  • Melissa Bazley, 63
  • Rodney Clark, 64
  • Cecilia Lloyd, 72
  • Michael Bolger, 37
  • Kenley Bolger, 5
  • Owen Bolger, 2

Six others are still being treated for their injuries.

“The last twelve hours have been some of the most difficult times our community has faced,” said MCEMA Director Diogenes Ayala said.

MCEMA is asking people to avoid areas hit by the tornado since “response operations are ongoing and emergency responders are continuing to asses the impacts of the storm and perform search and rescue.”

Several tornadoes touched down throughout the afternoon and evening across central Iowa, leaving a widespread swath of damage from Winterset to Newton.

Multiple cities in the region were affected by the storms. Homes were destroyed, cars were damaged and thousands of power outages were reported.


More updates from Madison County can be found here

1,700+ MidAmerican Energy customers in the Des Moines area were still without power as of 7 a.m. Sunday. That number was at 1,100 as of 2:15 p.m. and 805 at 4:30 p.m. Sunday.

“Our hearts and prayers go out to all those affected by today’s tragic storms that ripped through our state,” Gov. Kim Reynolds said in a statement.

The governor also issued a disaster proclamation for Madison County, allowing state resources to be used in the area for relief efforts.

The National Weather Service in Des Moines plans to survey the storm damage on Sunday and through the upcoming week.

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

A homeowner in Pleasant Hill recalled being in her house when the storm came through, and says she is thankful for the community’s help.

“This is all just stuff. So that’s hard to you know, it’s hard to look around and say that but at the end of the day, we’re all okay,” said Jeri VanElsen.

A city-by-city look at cleanup efforts and resources can be seen below.

RELATED: WEATHER LAB | How tornadoes form


Damage was reported to a home just to the south of Chariton. 

Below is the information released by Lucas County Emergency Management on Sunday morning:

“Severe storms moved through Lucas County on March 5th at about 5:00 p.m.  At 5:16 p.m., National Weather Service confirmed a tornado with the storm that moved through an area southeast of Chariton; causing damage to several homes, buildings, power lines, and vegetation. 

Lucas County fire and law enforcement agencies and mutual aid partners responded to the storm.  At this time, there is one known fatality in a rural area southeast of Chariton, and multiple reported injuries.

We are asking for the public’s assistance by staying clear of the damaged areas and allowing crews to do their jobs in cleanup efforts today.

The hearts of ADLM Emergency Management and all public safety agencies in Lucas County go out to the residents of the state of Iowa affected by yesterday’s storms.”


Significant damage was reported along Highway 117 south of Colfax. 

Below is what Jasper County Emergency Management released Saturday night: 

“A visually confirmed tornado did travel through Jasper County during the evening of March 5. The first reports of damage came from various reports south of Colfax and the storm tracked to the northeast corner of Jasper County near Rock Creek State Park. The Jasper County Sheriff’s Office and other law enforcement agencies are still assessing damage in the county.

At this time, we have no reports of injuries but there are roads blocked with debris, including trees, and down power lines. At this time, law enforcement is asking residents of Jasper County to avoid these areas. Utility crews will be working hard to restore power to parts of Newton, Colfax and other areas of the county

If Jasper County residents have damage to your home or building, please report your name, address and photos, if possible to Reports of trees that have not fallen into or against a building are not reportable.”


A semi was reported down along I-80 near Newton as a result of the strong storms that rolled through the area.

The Valle Drive-In posted this to Facebook after the storm:

“We appreciate all those that have contacted us and we appreciate your willingness to help. 

Please let us reach out to our insurance company to make sure they have done a full assessment of the damages sustained. Once we have this, we will reach out to express any assistance we could use. 

Our thoughts and prayers are for those who lost their lives and were injured in today’s storms.”

RELATED: The latest weather forecast from Local 5

RELATED: Biden approves disaster declarations for Nebraska, Iowa


The National Weather Service confirmed a tornado in Norwalk shortly after 5 p.m.

“We’ve seen quite a variety of structural damage from residential structures to vehicles all the way up to some large commercial structures. At this time, we have no report of any injuries,” Doug Richardson with the Norwalk Fire Department said at 6:40 p.m.


Large hail was reported in the Orient community on Saturday afternoon. It caused severe damage.

Pleasant Hill

Significant damage was reported southeast of Southeast Polk High School, according to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office. 

Crews are assessing damage, but no fatalities have been reported as of Saturday night.

“Downed powerlines, standing water and debris blocking roadways are creating dangerous travel conditions in this area and we are asking for the public’s assistance by staying clear of the area and allowing these agencies to work unimpeded,” the sheriff’s office said in a release.

Four Mile Elementary (678 SE 68th St, Pleasant Hill) is being used as a shelter and resource center for anyone impacted by the storms. Hours have been extended to 4 p.m. Sunday. 

More information on resources from Southeast Polk can be found by clicking/tapping here

Below is a list of street closures as of 3:30 p.m. Sunday. Travelers should avoid these areas:

  • SE Vandalia Dr: closed at SE 68th St to SE 72nd St
  • SE 6th Ave: closed between SE 80th ST. and SE 92nd St
  • SE Garrett Dr/Baseline Ave/SE 91st St between Hwy 163 and SE 6th Ave
  • SE 96th St/NE 3rd Ave/NE 100th St: closed between SE 6th Ave and Hwy 163
  • SE 72nd St: closed from SE 6th Ave to SE Vandalia Dr
  • NE 23rd Ave: closed between NE 112th St and NE 120th St
  • NE 120th St: closed between Hwy 163 and NE 44th Ave
  • SE 68th Ave south of SE Vandalia Dr as well as Yellow Banks Park remain closed  


Six people were killed and four injured in a tornado Saturday, Madison County Emergency Management said at a press conference.

If someone is missing, please call 515-462-3575 Ext. 8. If you want to help with cleanup, call 515-462-1185 (Chamber of Commerce) starting at 7 a.m. Sunday.

A tornado was confirmed south of Winterset around 4:30 p.m., according to the National Weather Service.

Madison County Emergency Management tells Local 5:

—Significant damage to several homes and structures
—Several people injured, but no count yet
—Parts of the county lost power earlier but it has since been restored
—Madison County has an incident command center set up right now

New Bridge Church is opening as a shelter, and the school district said the church will also host a pancake breakfast at 7 a.m. Sunday.

The below video began streaming at 3:30 p.m. CT Saturday.