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Multiple tornadoes touchdown in northeast Iowa

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WORTHINGTON -- Firefighters and weather spotters were called out throughout Rock and Nobles counties in Minnesota and Lyon and Osceola counties in Iowa Thursday night for the first severe weather of the season.

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A tornado watch had been issued early Thursday evening, stretching to 11 p.m., with most of the warnings in the four-county area issued between 7 and 8:30 p.m.

Lyon County, Iowa, took the brunt of the storm, as Sheriff Blythe Bloemendaal said multiple tornadoes touched down during the 7 o'clock hour.

"If I had to guess, if the sightings are accurate, we had four tornadoes," Bloemendaal said at about 8:45 p.m. Thursday. "Everything sounds like it was outbuildings on farm places."

Tornado damage was reported between Alvord and Inwood, and tornadoes were seen on the ground a couple of miles south of George, as well as south of Rock Rapids.

"There was some talk of a tornado being a half mile wide, but I'm assuming that would be a lot of dust being thrown around," Bloemendaal said.

Weather spotters, who are firefighters, were sent out in every community in Lyon County, with the exception of Larchwood, and Bloemendaal said high school students who had been out on the golf course were brought into Rock Rapids, where they took shelter in the basement of the school there.

In Osceola County, the sheriff's department reported pea size hail and strong winds near Sibley, while the National Weather Service reported a tornado spotted one mile north of Ocheyedan. The sheriff's office had the information listed as a funnel cloud sighting by a trained weather spotter.

As of 9 p.m., no touchdowns had been reported in Osceola, Nobles or Rock counties, and the tornado watch in Nobles County expired at 9:30 p.m.

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