Greenfield Residents Begin Recovery After Tornado Devastation Amid Looming Severe Weather Threats

Iowa State Police Confirm Fatalities and Injuries as Tornadoes Devastate Counties

Two days after a devastating tornado tore through Greenfield, Iowa, residents are grappling with the aftermath. The tornado, which struck with peak winds of 175-185 mph, demolished over 100 homes in just one minute, claiming four lives and injuring at least 35 others. The once serene small city now buzzes with the clamor of heavy equipment clearing the wreckage. Yet, just beyond the mile-long swath of destruction, untouched homes and manicured lawns remain, a stark contrast to the chaos left behind.

Iowa State Police Confirm Fatalities and Injuries as Tornadoes Devastate Counties
Firefighters walks among tornado-damaged homes, Tuesday, May 21, 2024, in Greenfield, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall) (Charlie Neibergall/AP)

Among the victims were Dean and Pam Wiggins, whose grandson Tom Wiggins combed through the rubble of their demolished home, hoping to find mementos. “They were incredibly loved by not only our family but the entire town,” he said. Bill Yount, another resident, described the scene as resembling a bomb site. “Forty seconds changed my life immensely,” he recounted, noting how the storm ripped off his garage and damaged his home. Meanwhile, Sherri Beitz expressed relief that her mother, Ginger Thompson, survived despite being trapped in her wheelchair during the tornado. “The main thing is she is OK. House can be replaced,” she said.

In the midst of this devastation, more severe weather looms. The National Weather Service predicts further storms, including tornadoes, that could strike already damaged areas in the Midwest. Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds praised FEMA’s swift response and sought a disaster declaration for multiple counties. Over 202 homes were destroyed in Tuesday’s tornadoes, with Greenfield suffering the brunt of the impact. As residents brace for more potential storms, the community’s resilience and determination to rebuild remain unwavering.

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