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500 homes damaged as tornadoes sweep through central US

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NWS Storm Prediction Center has 36 preliminary tornado reports for March 6, 2017 from Kansas, Iowa, Missouri and Illinois. Most of them occurred in Missouri where 18 injuries were reported in Jackson and St. Charles counties. A confirmed tornado touched down near Princeton and Zimmerman, Minnesota, damaging homes and downing trees. It was the earliest tornado in the history of the state. The outbreak comes less than a week after deadly tornadoes struck the Midwest.

The storms unleashed damaging winds, heavy rain, large hail and isolated tornadoes but there were no reports of casualties this time. Powerful winds extended as far south as the Ozark Mountains in Arkansas, where a post office and church were damaged, and as far north as Minnesota where NWS confirmed the earliest tornado in the history of the state.

Wind damage was reported across much of Missouri, where most of the tornadoes occurred. Baseball-sized hail was also reported in parts of the state.

At least 15 people have been injured after a tornado moved through Oak Grove, MO on Monday night. Officials said 483 homes there sustained some type of damage, along with 10 to 12 commercial buildings.

"It looks like the injuries are minimal so, based on some of the damage I've seen, it's rather amazing," Oak Grove Mayor Jeremy Martin said in a Tuesday morning press conference.

Structural damage was confirmed on Cemetery Road in Macks Creek and one mobile home was destroyed on Highway W, according to OzakFirst.

In Nixa, emergency crews reported half of roof was blown off one home. There were a number of reports of tree damage within Christian County. In Bolivar, power poles are broken south side of the city. In Morgan County, a tree landed on a house on Highway 5.  Also in Morgan County, emergency managers report part of a building on the road on Oak Knoll Road in Rocky Mount.

Heavy damage was also reported at the Johnson County Executive Airport in Olathe. Extensive damage was done to hangars, vehicles, and other structures in the area. Power lines were also down at the airport but there were injuries reported there.

A powerful wave of thunderstorms and hurricane-force winds swept through Iowa, spawning several tornadoes, damaging buildings and knocking out electricity. There had been no reports of injuries, NWS said.

NWS documented significant damage to buildings, trees and power poles and widespread hail as large as golf balls in some places.

A school was damaged in southeast Iowa where Seymour Community Schools canceled classes, The Des Moines Register reported. Six counties reported tornado sightings. The Webster County emergency manager reported a 1.5-mile-long (2.4 km) path of damage northeast of Harcourt. A barn was destroyed near Milo in Warren County. Near Lake Red Rock, a front porch was blown off and some windows were blown out. More possible tornado reports came from Wayne, Scott and Clinton counties.

Some 20 000 customers were without power by 22:45 local time.

NWS confirmed a tornado touched down near Princeton and Zimmerman, Minnesota around 17:50 local time, damaging homes and downing trees. This was the earliest tornado in the history of the state.

According to Connexus Energy, about 2 300 people in Zimmerman and Baldwin Township lost power due to Monday night’s severe weather. 

A second tornado possibly struck near Clarks Grove, north of Albert Lea. The National Weather Service will be out Tuesday measuring the strength and size of both likely tornadoes.

Featured image: Smithville & Plattsburg, MO tornado damage from a drone. Credit: Severe Studios

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