DES MOINES, Iowa — A spokeswoman for Iowa Homeland Security said at least four people were killed and 40 injured when a tornado struck a western Iowa Boy Scout camp Wednesday evening.
Iowa Homeland Security spokeswoman Julie Tack said a search and rescue team has been deployed to the camp, about 40 miles north of Omaha, Neb.
Tack said 93 campers and 25 staff members were at the camp. The campers were between 13 and 18 years old and were attending leadership training.
Meanwhile in Vinton, Iowa, on Wednesday, jail inmates were rescued by boat as the raging Cedar River flooded the downtown and forced evacuations in another town downstream.
From Wisconsin to Missouri, officials in the flood-ravaged Midwest were frantically sandbagging, watching weakened dams and rescuing residents from water that in some places rose knee-high, while storms threatened more damage in the Upper Plains.
Officials in Wisconsin were monitoring dams and high water in Indiana burst a levee, flooding a vast stretch of farmland. In Minnesota and North Dakota, strong winds closed a highway and even sent a cow into the air, a witness said.
Other tornadoes touched down in eastern Nebraska and southwestern Minnesota, but there were no immediate reports of major damage.
Along the Mississippi River in Missouri and Illinois, the National Weather Service was predicting the worst flooding in 15 years. Outlying areas could be inundated, but most of the towns are protected by levees and many low-lying property owners were bought out after massive flooding in 1993, officials said.
In Cedar Falls, a city of about 35,000 people farther down the Cedar River, officials were relieved that a frantic volunteer sandbagging effort had kept floodwaters out of downtown.
The upper Plains faced strong winds and thunderstorms Wednesday.
With more rain falling upriver in parts of Iowa, crests at Missouri's Mississippi River towns could be higher than currently forecast, said weather service hydrologist Jim Kramper.