Greenfield, Iowa tornado: Survivor stories, damage, deaths

The small community of Greenfield, Iowa, is reeling after an “at least” EF-3 tornado came through town, injuring more than a dozen and killing multiple people.

GREENFIELD, Iowa — The small community of Greenfield, Iowa, is reeling after an “at least” EF-3 tornado came through town, injuring at least 35 people and killing four

Local 5 has yet to confirm how many fatalities occurred as a result of the storms, nor the identities of the deceased.

Resident Jane Woodside was spending a relaxing night at home cooking her dinner and enjoying some tea, unaware of what was coming. 

“I had been chopping vegetables. I made a cup of tea,” Woodside said. “I took my laptop and phone downstairs.”

Home alone, Woodside stayed in her basement as she listened to the tornado rip through her town.

“Truly that freight train sound,” she told Local 5. “And I would say [it lasted] 10 to 15 seconds. It was really scary, and I just stayed up against the wall.”

This fear is a feeling Woodside and many other Iowans have experienced at least once. 

“When I was probably 15, the day before Easter, my house was destroyed by a tornado in eastern Iowa. So, I’ve survived two tornadoes,” Woodside said. 

But Tuesday’s severe weather was exceptionally violent, with the National Weather Service Des Moines estimating at least 136 mph winds barreled through the area. 

Woodside said she’s still shaken up from last night but is optimistic about overcoming these hard times with the help of her family.

“I said to my children you may not want me to live with you, I might be a tornado magnet,” she said. 

Just 15 minutes southwest of Greenfield, a fifth-generation farm was completely destroyed. With the farmhouse leveled and wind turbines in the distance destroyed, towns and communities in the path of destruction have a lot of healing to do. 

The family has farmed that land for nearly a century. With a family of four inside the home, they survived the tornado, coming out with a few fractures and bruises. 

“You could hear it come and then it was just a bunch of crunching and a brick wall fell on us, and then it was over,” said Abbey Queck. “So we like lifted up the blanket, we looked up and it was just like open sky cause like everything was gone.” 

Bob Queck, at 87 years old, has lived on the farm his entire life except for 10 years. He told Local 5 this farm is his life. 

The family is expressing their thanks to everyone who has come out to help. Abbey is a teacher at the Earlham School District, and on Wednesday, two busses of staff and students came to help the family clean up.

“It’s just so nice to have so much help because it is super overwhelming,” Abbey said. 

Bob is remaining positive through it all and is grateful everyone made it out alive. 

“It’s a new chapter. We started a new book, and it’ll be interesting to see what that turns out to be,” Bob said.

For information on how to help impacted Iowans at this link. 

If you are unable to contact a loved one in Greenfield, call the Iowa Department of Public Safety Storm Lake Communication Center at 712-732-1341. For more information about reunification points and temporary shelters, click here

In a press conference Tuesday night, Iowa State Patrol Sgt. Alex Dinkla confirmed multiple fatalities and more than a dozen injuries as a result the storm in Greenfield. Local 5 has yet to confirm how many fatalities occurred as a result of the storms, nor the identities of the deceased.

“The Greenfield community 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,” Dinkla said. 

The Adams County Sheriff’s Office also confirmed a death near Corning due to a woman’s car being blown off the roadway.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds has issued a Disaster Emergency Proclamation for the following counties: 

  • Adair
  • Adams
  • Black Hawk
  • Buena Vista
  • Butler
  • Cass
  • Cedar
  • Clay
  • Clinton
  • Dubuque
  • Fayette
  • Franklin
  • Hancock
  • Hardin
  • Harrison
  • Humboldt
  • Iowa
  • Jackson
  • Jasper
  • Kossuth
  • Marshall
  • Mills
  • Montgomery
  • Muscatine
  • O’Brien
  • Page
  • Palo Alto
  • Polk
  • Pottawattamie
  • Story
  • Tama
  • Warren

The proclamation allows for grants up to $5,000 for qualifying individuals. Click here to read more about eligibility criteria and to apply for assistance.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) issued the following statement: 

“On behalf of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region 7 family, we send our heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of those who were killed and injured by the severe weather that impacted the Midwest on Tuesday, particularly the state of Iowa. Recovery will take some time.  But Midwesterners are resilient.  So are the local and state first responders who acted courageously in dangerous conditions to save lives and provide immediate assistance.  We commend them.

FEMA will continue to be in close contact with our state and tribal partners as we have done during the severe weather, to provide any requested support. In the meantime, we encourage residents and business owners to follow the advice of local and state officials and to be focused on safety as the recovery begins.”

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