‘Particularly dangerous situation’ tornado watch issued for parts of Midwest

DES MOINES, Iowa – A series of large, violent tornadoes hit the Hawkeye State on Tuesday, causing significant destruction in some rural communities.

Parts of Iowa, northwestern Illinois, southeastern Minnesota and western Wisconsin were placed under a “particularly hazardous situation” tornado watch as waves of powerful storms moved through the area, continuing a severe weather threat that lasted several days. in various parts of the US.

Less than 5% of all severe weather alerts receive the Particularly Hazardous Situation label.

Additionally, other tornado watches extended from near Minneapolis to Tulsa, a distance of more than 600 miles.

Widespread damaging winds and isolated significant gusts up to 90 mph are also possible, along with hail up to 4 inches in diameter.

The FOX Forecast Center said a large cold front will sweep through the heart of the country and affect major cities from Chicago to Dallas. Before the cold front, there will be a favorable environment for strong storms to occur as the atmosphere becomes very unstable.


The worst storms are expected Tuesday in Iowa, northern Missouri, northwestern Illinois, southwestern Wisconsin and southeastern Minnesota. Any severe storm could produce some strong tornadoes, damaging winds and large hail.

More than 4 million people are at a level 4 out of 5 risk of severe weather on Tuesday. This includes the cities of Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Davenport and Waterloo in Iowa, St. Joseph in Missouri and Rochester in Minnesota.

Tornadoes detected in Iowa

At least half a dozen tornadoes were observed in the western and central parts of the Hawkeye State on Tuesday afternoon.

Tornadoes were reported in Red Oak, Carbon, Corning and Greenfield, where damage to power lines, wind turbines and homes was reported.

At least one wind turbine was on fire and lay leaning against the ground in Prescott, Iowa, southwest of Des Moines.

Wind turbines damaged during heavy storms in Prescott, Iowa
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Wind turbines damaged during heavy storms in Prescott, Iowa
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Tornado in Red Oak, Iowa detected on 05/21/2024
(Evan Occhino)

Storm tracker Brandon Copic was one of the first on the scene after an apparent tornado devastated Massena, Iowa.
(Brandon Copic)

Damage to homes outside Fontanelle, Iowa
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Double debris ball detected on radar in Carbon and Corning, Iowa
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A wind turbine in Carl, Iowa, destroyed by a tornado.
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Iowa wind turbine downed by tornado.
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The FOX Forecast Center detected debris on radar from two tornadoes that hit Carbon and Corning, and debris was reported to have been thrown at least 15 miles from a tornado that hit Greenfield, Iowa.

Greenfield has a population of about 2,000 people and is the heart of Adair County, Iowa.

Video showed people searching through the debris of what was a large tornado. Because of the powerful display on radar, meteorologists believe the tornado was in the upper half of the enhanced Fujita wind scale.

Damage appeared to be significant on the south and east sides of Greenfield, around where the region’s medical center is located.

“Most of this city is gone… There’s no other way to say it. Most of this city is gone,” said Brandon Copic, exclusive storm tracker for FOX Weather.

PowerOutage.us reported that more than half of Adair County was without power following the severe storms.


First responders blocked roads in and out of Greenfield in the hours following the severe weather to keep non-residents out of the community.

“So it came up pretty quickly. The storm was moving at 50 to 55 miles per hour. So they’re coming in quickly. People had a decent warning… And fortunately, 99% of the people we had talked to They had a good reaction to that warning and took refuge,” Copic said.

Parts of the Des Moines metro were also placed under a tornado warning Tuesday afternoon.

A wind gust of 71 mph was reported east of Des Moines at the Newton Municipal Airport.

Most dangerous storms from Wednesday to Thursday

The line of storms will continue through Wednesday, stretching from the eastern Great Lakes to the Plains.

The FOX Forecast Center said details are still unclear on how Wednesday will play out, but the ingredients are there for at least one day of damaging wind gusts and large hail. The greatest severe weather threat will extend from northern Texas to the Missouri Bootheel.

The cold front slows on Thursday and a new low pressure system is likely to form much further south, putting the focus on the central and southern Plains and the Ark-La-Tex region. These storms will stay out of Houston but will be a problem for cities like Dallas and Little Rock, Arkansas.

All severe storm threats appear to be on the table, including damaging winds, large hail, and a pair of tornadoes. The threat of flash flooding will also increase as waves of heavy rain arrive.