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10 Tornadoes Wreak Havoc In Iowa

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A total of 10 tornadoes touched down in five counties of Northwest Iowa on Saturday (April 9), destroying hundreds of homes but causing no injuries more severe than a broken leg.

The largest twister measured three-quarters of a mile wide with winds of at least 136 mph, making it an EF3 tornado on the Enhanced Fujita Scale. It wended its way through the city of Mapleton at 7:20 p.m. local time. Mapleton residents, who number 1,200, had 10 minutes of warning before the tornado arrived. Though it twisted half the town's buildings to shreds, everyone survived.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, multiple tornadoes spawned by the same storm cell are referred to as a "tornado family." That is probably what struck Northwest Iowa, a region in the so-called "Tornado Alley" of the central United States.

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Live Science Staff
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