IOWA CITY, Iowa – Severe storms ripped through eastern Iowa on Thursday night, spawning tornadoes that crushed homes and car and killed one person.
The National Weather Service said the fatality occurred in Muscatine County, where a tornado toppled the victim's mobile home. The victim's name was not released.
Twisters, high wind and hail toppled trees and cut off power to thousands across the region. No other injuries were immediately reported.
Residents sifted through debris downtown and in several neighborhoods. "We're in disaster mode," an Iowa City dispatcher said.
At the University of Iowa, which the National Weather Service said was hit by one tornado, students were assessing the damage, including downed trees.
Andrew Loffswold fled his apartment when he heard the howling winds of an oncoming twister grow louder. When he returned, his second-story apartment was in shambles, its roof torn off and its contents turned upside down.
"I'm just trying to salvage anything I can," said Loffswold, a 19-year-old student from Sioux City.
Nine other nearby apartments suffered major damage.
University spokesman Steve Parrott said classes have been canceled for Friday while crews repair the campus and clear debris.
Downtown, severe winds blew cars around, and a roof collapsed at a pedestrian mall, police said.
MidAmerican Energy said about 7,000 homes and businesses in eastern Iowa were without power Friday morning. Crews were working through the night to restore it.
The weather service reported tornadoes in Tama, Linn, Muscatine and Johnson counties, with much of the damage occurring in Iowa City.
Officials were keeping an eye out for more tornadoes in east-central Iowa on Thursday night, Donavon said.
The storms swept through northern Illinois, knocking down trees and power lines and prompting tornado warnings.
At least one tornado was spotted on the ground in Mercer County, the weather service said. Winds of 80 mph were reported in Warren County, where the roofs of two homes were heavily damaged, authorities said. There were no reports of injuries.