Monday, April 11, 2011

500 residents of Iowa town homeless

John Pape in Disaster News Network: The mayor of Mapleton, Iowa, said more than half of his city sustained some degree of damage after a tornado tore through the southwestern part of the small community Saturday evening. On Sunday, the National Weather Service confirmed the damage was caused by an EF-3 tornado.

Mayor Fred Standa said he estimated 60 percent of the town sustained damage, and at least 20 percent of the community of 1,200 people was “completely flat.” More than 100 homes are reported to be seriously damaged. Mapleton is near the Iowa – Nebraska state line, about 40 miles southeast of Sioux City.

Moana County Sheriff Jeff Pratt said 12 – 15 blocks of Mapleton were “completely destroyed,” and 500-600 residents were left homeless. Despite the widespread damage, only a few minor injuries were reported, none of them life-threatening. The most serious injury reported was a broken leg. That person was taken to an area hospital for treatment.

A tornado warning was sounded about 10 minutes before the storm hit, giving residents the time needed to seek shelter. The aftermath ranged from trees and power poles uprooted to complete devastation, with piles of debris marking where homes once stood.

…The storm also damaged local utilities, including natural gas service. The smell of gas permeated much of the city immediately following the storm, prompting Standa and other local officials to call out the Iowa National Guard to block off most of the city. That blockade was lifted Sunday morning after the gas supply was shut off….

This map shows the incorporated and unincorporated areas in Monona County, Iowa, highlighting Mapleton in red. By Arkyan, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

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