Two tornadoes form in IA; steeple ripped off building in separate twister

Iowa tornadoes bring trail of destruction that hits historic courthouse, theatre and factory

A tornado has caused brick walls to collapse into streets, ripped roofs off buildings and blown a cupola off the top of a historic court house in the central Iowa city of Marshalltown.

Thousands of people are still without power after tornadoes that struck Marshalltown and other Iowa communities.

Authorities said a hospital was evacuated and there were some injuries from the storms, but no reports of deaths.

Marshalltown, a city of 27,000 people about 50 miles (80 kilometers) northeast of Des Moines, appeared to have been hit the hardest.

A devastating tornado swept through Marshalltown, Iowa, on Thursday, knocking down trees and power lines and tearing off shingles from roofs, photos and videos posted on social media show. Staff are moving patients to UnityPoint Health - Waterloo and UnityPoint Health - Grundy Center.

The Marshalltown hospital's emergency room remained open to treat patients injured in the storm, Varcoe said.

"Everyone is advised to stay away from downtown Marshalltown until further notice", City Administrator Jessica Kinser said in a statement obtained by CNN.com. "We also ask that people stay off cell lines unless necessary, to allow for emergency phone traffic".

"Everyone that I talked to just continued to just say how lucky they are that at this point there haven't been any fatalities", she said. After the tornado rushed over them, damaging the shop and destroying her husband's vehicle, they emerged unharmed.

Pella Police Lt. Shane Cox told KCCI-TV some people from Vermeer Manufacturing were taken to a hospital, but he didn't know the extent of injuries or the number of people.

Six people went to the hospital with minor injuries after a tornado, Linda Parker, a spokeswoman for the Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, said.

Pella Regional Health Center spokeswoman Billie Rhamy said seven people injured at the Vermeer plant were treated at the hospital. Smith said his house and neighbourhood were not damaged, but much of downtown and surrounding homes have been.

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