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Twisters devastate Midwest towns

Tornadoes across several Midwestern states leave behind trail of death and destruction

PARKERSBURG, IA | May 25, 2008

"The citizens are very shook and scared"

—Mike Ericson, Hugo, MN city administrator

Severe storms pounded midwestern states again Sunday, killing at least one person and injuring dozens of others.

Emergency officials were assessing damages Sunday night following a late afternoon tornado that decimated the central Iowa town of Parkersburg.

Dan Summerhays of Waterloo told the Waterloo/Cedar Falls Courier Sunday night that he had seen hundreds of homes that were destroyed in the town of about 1,000 residents.

A police dispatcher in Butler County said emergency officials were trying to free some local residents who were trapped in buildings following the tornado touchdown but could not confirm reports of any fatalities. Many of the buildings in the business district and the local high school were also damaged or destroyed. Nearby Dunkerton was also hit hard by the storms.

Waterloo area hospitals are reporting dozens of injuries as a result of the tornado.

Iowa Gov. Chet Culver issued a disaster proclamation for Butler and Black Hawk Counties. "Early reports indicate that Parkersburg and surrounding areas have sustained significant damage after a possible tornado touched down earlier today," said Culver. "The . . . state government stands ready to do whatever is necessary to support local emergency management efforts and help those affected recover."

In Hugo, MN, a two-year-old child died when an apparent tornado struck near the center of the town. Dozens of homes were destroyed in the St. Paul suburb according to Mike Ericson, the city administrator. As night fell, emergency officials were still searching for as many as 20 people who were reported missing.

"The citizens are very shook and scared," Ericson said.

Another child, in critical condition, was amongst those taken to a nearby hospital following the storm.

Earlier in the day, according to the National Weather Service, a tornado touched down in Coon Rapids, northwest of the Twin Cities, uprooting trees and downing power lines.

Tornadoes were also reported in Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri and Kansas.

On Saturday, tornadoes struck rural communities in Oklahoma, causing minor damage to homes and destroying a hog farm.

At least 150 tornadoes have been reported -- primarily in the Midwest -- during the past four days.

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