10:56 p.m. Power returning to homes across Des Moines and Iowa
According to MidAmerican Energy, there are now fewer than 6,000 customers without power due to the severe weather and tornadoes that hit Iowa on Saturday.
To be exact, as of 10:56 p.m. Saturday, 5,671 customers were without power, including 4,904 in Des Moines. That's down from 10,559 total and 10,318 without power as of 6:17 p.m.
MORE: Iowans share tales of damage, survival during Winterset tornado: 'It was the scariest thing I've ever experienced'
10:45 p.m. Gov. Reynolds issues disaster proclamation for Madison County
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds issued a disaster proclamation for Madison County late Saturday night in response to Saturday's tornado and severe weather that killed six in Winterset, including two children younger than 5 years old.
“Our hearts go out to all those affected by the deadly storms that tore through our state today,” Reynolds said in a press release. “Kevin and I join with Iowans in prayer for those that lost their lives and those injured. Our hearts ache during this time, but I know Iowans will step up and come together to help in this time of need — they already are.”
The point of a governor's proclamation is to allow state resources to be utilized in Madison County to assist with response and recovery efforts. Other Iowa counties may be added to the proclamation in the future.
10:18 p.m. Official says Winterset tornado hit 25-30 homes
Madison County Emergency Management Director Diogenes Ayala said four adults and two children under the age of 5 were killed Saturday when a tornado struck a neighborhood by Carver Road 3 miles southwest of Winterset at about 4:30 p.m.
Four adults were also injured, three seriously with life threatening injuries, Ayala said. One person with life-threatening injuries was taken to a Des Moines hospital with serious injuries, Ayala said.
The tornado hit about 25 to 30 homes and the fatalities were in different locations, Ayala said. He would not say how many residents live in the area because families were still being notified that people died. After hitting the neighborhood, the tornado continued northeast through Madison County.
“On Carver Road we saw the biggest impact of the tornadoes,” Ayala said. “On both sides there was a big impact to housing. Many people had their houses lost.”
An emergency shelter was set up at New Bridge Church at 1305 W. Jefferson St. in Winterset for anyone needing assistance.
Carver Road is closed Saturday night near the affected area. People were asked to avoid the affected area Saturday night. Volunteers can gather at the Madison County Chamber of Commerce Sunday morning to help clean up.
EMS, firefighters and police officers from around central Iowa responded to search for victims, Ayala said. First responders are not still searching for anyone, Ayala said. Power is still out in some areas, he said.
The tornado will be remembered in Madison County, Ayala said.
“This is the worst that anyone’s seen in quite a long time,” Ayala said. “This will be impactful for many years to come.”
10:12 p.m. One reportedly killed in Chariton, Iowa
WHO TV reporter Dan Winters reported late Saturday night that there is a seventh confirmed death from the severe storm that hit Iowa. The seventh confirmed death happened in Lucas County, in Chariton, Iowa.
The other six deaths happened in Winterset county after a tornado hit the city.
At 5:43 p.m., National Weather Service Des Moines tweeted that a "strong tornado" was "likely moving very close" to the south side of Chariton.
10:03 p.m. Two injured in Polk County after tornado hit Pleasant Hill
Polk County announced in a release late Saturday night that the National Weather Service reported a tornado moved through an area south of Pleasant Hill, which caused damage to several homes, power lines, and trees on Saturday.
There are no known deaths in Polk County from the tornado and only two injuries, according to the release.
There are downed powerlines, standing water and debris blocking roadways.
There is a reception center at Four Mile Elementary in Pleasant Hill for any resident affected by the storm. Red Cross volunteers will be there to help until midnight on Saturday.
9:44 p.m. Madison County sheriff: 'I'm not going to sugarcoat it. It's bad'
Madison County Sheriff Jason Barnes said a single neighborhood 3 miles southwest of Winterset was directly hit by the tornado. He saw the swirl marks in the fields from the tornado as he drove to the scene and said it looked like it had been a wide tornado.
National Weather Service meteorologists will be at the scene Sunday surveying the damage to get an estimate of its path, length on the ground and width.
“It looked like a bomb went off,” Barnes said. “I’m not going to sugarcoat it. It’s bad. Leveled houses, trees. Just unbelievable.”
For days, the NWS warned there could be a chance of severe weather, the first of 2022, coming on the heels of the Dec. 15 derecho which spawned 63 tornadoes in Iowa. Early in the day Saturday, the NWS raised the risk of severe weather to "enhanced" for Des Moines and areas south of Des Moines.
“I knew to be watching it, to be paying attention. I knew it was a possibility,” Barnes said. “Nobody expected it at that level.”
9:30 p.m. The press conference has wrapped up
Register reporter Philip Joens will have more updates coming shortly.
9:12 p.m. Official say 6 people died after tornado hit southwest Winterset
At a news conference happening right now at the Winterset Fire Department, Madison County Emergency Management Director Diogenes Ayala said there were six fatalities, four adults and two children under 5 years old, after a tornado hit southwest of Winterset at 4:30 p.m.
Three adults are also in serious condition and there was one other injury.
An earlier version of this post was incorrect about the ages of the people who died in the storm. Four adults and two children were said to have died.
8:59 p.m. Updates coming from Winterset
A news conference is about to start at the Winterset Fire Department, regarding the tornado that struck the central Iowa city Saturday late afternoon.
WHO TV reported earlier this evening that at least two people were killed when the tornado touched down in Madison County.
8:51 p.m. NWS urges Quad Cities to seek shelter
The severe storm has progressed through Iowa and is now affecting the Quad Cities, where the National Weather Service has urged residents to seek shelter.
The storm is now approaching the Davenport Municipal Airport.
8:21 p.m. NWS classifies Winterset tornado as EF-3, or 'severe'
The National Weather Service Des Moines tweeted Saturday night that, upon initial investigation, it believes the tornado that swept through Winterset as a category 3 tornado on the Enhanced Fujita Scale, which is the third-strongest type of tornado.
An EF-3 tornado is considered "severe" and has winds of 136-165 mph.
8:11 p.m. 'It was over in half a minute'
Mandy Jurgensen was searching a field full of debris near her damaged home southwest of Winterset. Her small red pickup truck was on a ditch about 50 feet from where it had been parked in the driveway.
She said she had been watching TV with her boyfriend "when all of a sudden it got all dark outside." She said her boyfriend told her "That's a tornado" and they ducked to the floor.
"It was over in half a minute," she said.
The house was still standing but a shop on the property was shredded, as were nearby houses and barns. She said she would de staying overnight in a motel in Des Moines.
8:08 p.m. 'There were trees down all over the place'
Stacie Carter stood below a steep ridge crowned by the shattered remnants of her home south of Winterset.
She said she had been on her way to Des Moines with her granddaughter when she got a panicked call from her husband, who told her about the tornado and said she needed to get home as fast as she could.
"It took me about an hour " she said. "There were trees down all over the place."
She said her husband and daughter barely made it to the basement before the walls began collapsing.
"The wind slammed the door shut behind him," Carter said.
Despite the devastation, she said she wasn't worried.
"I've lived here all my life," said Carter, who works at Winterset Memorial Hospital. "There were people down here helping us out right away. That's what we do here. That's Iowa people."
7:55 p.m. NWS reports the storm has passed through central Iowa
It appears the severe weather that included a tornado that swept through Winterset and Norwalk and caused seek-shelter-immediately warnings on Des Moines' south side has passed through central Iowa.
7:52 p.m. Photos of the March 2022 storm
Register photographer Bryon Houlgrave will be out tonight to take photos of damage caused by the severe weather March 5, which included a tornado that swept through Winterset and Norwalk.
Here are his photos, plus others submitted to the Des Moines Register.
7:49 p.m. Emergency shelter set up in Madison County
According to the Madison County Iowa Emergency Management Facebook page, the New Bridge Church has set up a shelter location for those affected by the tornado. The church is located at 1305 W Jefferson St, Winterset, IA 50273
7:35 p.m. Two reportedly killed in Madison County
WHO TV reported that at least two people were killed when a tornado touched down in Madison County Saturday.
Madison County Sheriff Jason Barnes and Winterset Police Chief Ken Burk were not available to confirm the report.
The names of the people killed were not released yet, according to WHO.
7:10 p.m. ‘It was scariest thing I’ve ever experienced’: Madison County flower farm torn up by tornado
When a tornado touched down in Madison County and, the home of Adam and Jenn O’Neal began to creek and snap, they recalled in a live streamed video on their Instagram account after the tornado passed through.
They hunkered down in the basement.
“It was scariest thing I’ve ever experienced. Our ears started popping, it sounded like a vacuum,” Jenn O’Neal said in the video.
Aside from a few broken windows, their home remained intact, they said. But outside, their flower farm was destroyed.
“We don’t have anything left except our lives and our house but I’m grateful for that, and everything else doesn’t matter,” Jenn O’Neal said as she and her husband were standing atop of the foundation of what was once their flower cottage.
In their live stream, the flower farmers and authors of the book “Small Farm Big Dreams” showed their nearly 28,000 Instagram followers what was left of their farm.
The video showed large trees snapped and uprooted, and piles of debris where the family’s greenhouses and barns once stood.
“It just happened — we’re still in shock,” Adam O’Neal said.
“The irony is this gorgeous sunset.”
6:51 p.m. Tight rotation heading toward Ottumwa Airport
National Weather Service Des Moines is now reporting tight rotation heading toward the Ottumwa Airport.
6:42 p.m. Another reported view of the Winterset tornado
6:17 p.m. Power outage in Des Moines following severe weather
MidAmerican Energy is reporting power outages with 10,545 affected customers in the Des Moines area.
Des Moines police confirmed the closure of Southeast 45th Street from Hart Avenue to Army Post Road due to downed power lines. There have been no reports of injuries, according to Sgt. Paul Parizek, the department’s spokesperson.
6:04 p.m. Severe weather damage seen south of Winterset
According to Winterset police, the worst damage from the severe weather (the National Weather Service Des Moines confirmed a tornado in Winterset) in Winterset is near Carver Road, southwest of Winterset.
6:02 p.m. NWS urges Newton to seek immediate shelter
The severe weather is moving toward the northwest side of Newton. The National Weather Service Des Moines is urging Newton to take immediate shelter.
5:52 p.m. Strong rotation spotted over Corydon
5:50 p.m. Severe weather damage seen near Winterset
The National Weather Service Des Moines confirmed earlier this evening that a tornado hit the ground in Winterset and moved to Norwalk.
And here was the tornado seen in Winterset.
5:40 p.m. Strong tornado moving toward Chariton
The National Weather Service Des Moines said a strong tornado will move close to the south side of Chariton soon.
NWS has identified three main areas of concern for tornadoes: Colfax in Jasper County, Chariton and Russell in Lucas County and south of Allerton.
5:25 p.m. Tornado on the ground near Humeston
Another tornado has hit the ground in Iowa.
5:20 p.m. Tornado warning extended; sirens in Des Moines, West Des Moines, Ankeny
The National Weather Service Des Moines said in a tweet the tornado warning for Lucas, Decatur and Wayne is now in effect until 5:30 p.m.
Tornado sirens have gone off four times in Des Moines, and have also been heard in Ankeny. Some residents in Des Moines have reported internet outages and flickering lights.
5:12 p.m. Tornado now on the ground in Norwalk
The tornado has now traveled from Winterset to Norwalk.
5:08 p.m. Des Moines' south side needs to take shelter
The tornado-producing storm has crossed I-35 north of Martensdale, according to the National Weather Service Des Moines.
The storm is now approaching Norwalk and the Des Moines International Airport. NWS Des Moines called the storm "a life threatening situation" and urged Cumming, Norwalk and the south side of Des Moines are encouraged to take shelter immediately.
A new tornado warning has been issued for Lucas, Decatur and Wayne counties, with rotation spotted on the radar near Leon.
4:55 p.m. Tornado on ground in Winterset
National Weather Service Des Moines has confirmed a tornado on the ground in Winterset.
Tornado sirens sounded in the Des Moines area around 4:40 p.m. and the NWS sent an emergency alert sent to phones. In a tweet, NWS Des Moines told the south side of Des Moines to be prepared to take shelter.
"Take shelter now in a basement or an interior room on the lowest floor of a sturdy building," the emergency alert to phones said. "If you are outdoors, in a mobile home, or in a vehicle, move to the closest substantial shelter and protect yourself from flying debris."
4:35 p.m. NWS Des Moines has confirmed a tornado near Corning and Prescott
It's moving toward Winterset, following tornado sightings by storm chasers Saturday afternoon.
A tornado warning is currently in place for Winterset, Orient and East Peru until 5:15 p.m. According to the NWS Des Moines, tornadoes are possible in Des Moines this afternoon and evening.
Severe weather could bring damaging winds, hail and the possibility of tornadoes in Iowa this weekend.
The NWS office in Johnston said the first round of heavy rain and thunderstorms will begin late Friday and continue overnight, with the second round starting around 1 p.m. Saturday and lasting through the evening.
Hail around one inch in diameter is predicted during the second round of storms Saturday, with winds exceeding 60 mph.
"Damaging winds, hail, and isolated tornadoes are all possible as these storms move across the state later this afternoon and evening," NWS Des Moines said in a Saturday morning tweet. "The strongest risk for severe weather comes between 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. for an area extending south and east of the Des Moines metro area."
The storms are expected to end Saturday night, but northern parts of the state may see flooding in the wake of the storm.
"Rainfall from the Saturday storms will runoff into areas rivers and cause within bank rises," NWS Des Moines said in a hazardous weather outlook. "Where river ice remains, particularly over northern Iowa, it is possible ice jams could develop and cause localized flooding."
Wintry mix and snow is possible Sunday night into Monday, with possible minor snow accumulation in parts of the state.
High temperatures this time of year normally are in the low- to mid-40s with lows in the mid-20s. Expect a high of 67 degrees Saturday, with highs of 42 Sunday, 35 Monday and 45 Tuesday.
Grace Altenhofen is a news reporting intern for the Des Moines Register. She can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @gracealtenhofen.