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The Latest: Family survives tornado in basement

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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Latest on severe weather and tornadoes in Iowa (all times local):

7:45 p.m.

The tornado hit Marshalltown just as clothing shop owner Stephanie Moz, her husband and their 2-month-old baby were taking a late lunch break.

She says the storm broke out the shop’s window, ruined the clothing and hats they had on display and destroyed her husband’s vehicle, but she’s relieved. She says, “We went through a tornado and survived. I’m happy.”

Moz says she heard a storm siren and her mother texted her to seek shelter, so she and her 2-month-old son, Fredy Jr., rushed to the basement. Her husband looked outside and then ran back, shouting “Get in the basement. It’s right over us.”

They could hear booms and crashes, and a gust of wind blew through the basement, but they emerged safely. Moz says, “We’re OK. Not a scratch.”

The baby? He barely noticed. Moz says, “It didn’t really bother him. He wanted to sleep.”

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7:15 p.m.

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.

The damage from the Thursday afternoon tornado severely damaged many of the buildings in the city of 27,000, about 50 miles northeast of Des Moines.

There were no reports of deaths from the tornado that slammed into the city, but the brick buildings that surround the 132-year-old courthouse were severely damaged. The city’s wide streets were littered with bricks and downed trees.

The courthouse also was hit hard, as the tornado caused its cupola to tumble about 175 feet to the ground.

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7 p.m.

A spokeswoman for UnityPoint Health says that 40 patients are being evacuated from its hospital damaged by a tornado.

UnityPoint Health spokeswoman Amy Varcoe, who is based in Des Moines, says it was unclear how severely the UnityPoint hospital in Marshalltown was damaged, but all of its patients are being transferred to the health system’s hospitals in Waterloo and Grundy Center.

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6:50 p.m.

A spokeswoman says a tornado has damaged a hospital in Marshalltown, Iowa, and 40 patients will be moved to other hospitals.

UnityPoint Health spokeswoman Amy Varcoe, who is based in Des Moines, says it was unclear how severely the UnityPoint hospital in Marshalltown was damaged, but all of its patients are being transferred to the health system’s hospitals in Waterloo and Grundy Center.

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6 p.m.

Police say people have been taken to a local hospital after a tornado hit a factory in Pella where some people were working.

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.

He says emergency responders are attempting to get inside the damaged building to see if anyone is trapped inside.

One of the factory’s several manufacturing buildings sustained extensive damage with metal strewn across the parking lot and across the street into a cornfield. Vehicles were overturned and piled onto others.

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5:40 p.m.

Several buildings are reported damaged by a tornado in the main business district in Marshalltown, including the historic courthouse.

Initial reports to the National Weather Service indicated the historic Marshall County Courthouse’s tower was damaged in a Thursday afternoon tornado, and a weather service spotter reported vehicles overturned and numerous trees down.

A woman working at Hammer Medical Supply in the city’s downtown says her building has minor damage. She says other nearby buildings including The Orpheum, a theater built in 1948, also are damaged. Another nearby brick building is missing one side leaving the interior living quarters visible to the outside.

Marshalltown is a city of 27,000 about 50 miles (80 kilometers) northeast of Des Moines.

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5:10 p.m.

A large factory in the central Iowa city of Pella has sustained damage from a tornado strike.

Vermeer Manufacturing spokeswoman Liz Sporrer confirmed by email the company was hit. She says they were assessing the damage.

The company makes agricultural machinery including hay balers and mowers and equipment for the pipeline and forestry management industries.

Video from KCCI-TV showed damage to the building and cars stacked atop each other in a parking lot.

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3:50 p.m.

A storm system moving eastward across central Iowa is generating several tornadoes.

Several funnel clouds developed Thursday from the thunderstorm as it moved north of Des Moines near Bondurant. Additional funnels were reported as the storm moved east of Des Moines past Altoona, Prairie City and Colfax.

National Weather Service Meteorologist Jeff Johnson in Des Moines says several tornadoes were confirmed but no serious damage was immediately reported. There were no reports of injuries by midafternoon Thursday.

He says the funnel clouds are weak and smaller in scale.

The weather service is continuing to issue tornado warnings as the storms move eastward.

Additional funnel clouds were reported further north near Iowa Falls.

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