Iowa tornadoes hit unexpectedly, causing damage and injuries

A flurry of unexpected tornadoes swept through central Iowa, injuring at least 17 people, flattening buildings in three cities and forcing a hospital evacuation.

Residents – and even weather forecasters – were taken by surprise Thursday as the tornadoes hit Marshalltown, Pella and Bondurant. Ten people were injured in Marshalltown and seven at a factory near Pella, but no deaths were reported.

National Weather Service meteorologist Alex Krull says forecasting models had showed only a slight chance of strong thunderstorms. Krull says if anything, meteorologists were expecting possibly large hail if strong storms developed.

Marshalltown appeared to have been hit the hardest. Brick walls collapsed in the streets and roofs were blown off buildings. The only hospital in Marshalltown was damaged and patients were being transferred.