WINTERSET, Iowa – On Monday, a blanket of snow covered splintered piles of debris left behind after a powerful tornado ripped through the town of Winterset over the weekend.
The National Weather Service said six people were killed when the EF-4 twister swept through the town of about 5,000 people nearly 40 miles southwest of Des Moines.
The 170-mph winds destroyed homes, businesses, barns – just about anything that was in their path. In the aftermath, about 400 volunteers began showing up to help those hit hardest by the storm.
"We had so many people here helping," said Mandy Jurgensen, who sought shelter in her basement during the tornado. "They just showed up. We don’t know who they were. We’ve never seen them before, and they just came to help out."
Conrad Cleghorm, who lost his business in the tornado, said that’s the norm for Winterset.
"The people in Winterset are very, very good about, if you have a need, they will come and help people," Cleghorm said.
Jurgensen said she’s just grateful to live in a place where neighbors help neighbors.
"We weren’t able to thank everyone individually, but just know that it was, it was so appreciated, and it makes going through something like this a little bit easier," Jurgensen said.
A seventh person in Iowa was killed by an EF-3 tornado about 60 miles southeast of Winterset.