Quarter-Mile Wide Tornado Cuts Through Mapleton, Iowa

The National Weather Service says the western Iowa town of Mapleton was hit hard by a tornado Saturday night. There are no details about injuries yet. Mapleton is about 40 miles southeast of Sioux City, Iowa.

A quarter-mile wide tornado flattened a grain elevator and destroyed homes and buildings in Mapleton, Iowa Saturday between 7:20 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. The tornado, rated an EF3, is reported to have caused no serious injuries.

Gov. Terry Branstad issued an emergency proclamation covering Mapleton and surrounding Monana County on Saturday so the state could spend money to respond to the storm. Monana County is near the region of western Iowa where four Boy Scouts died in a tornado that struck a scouting ranch in June 2008.

Mapleton, which is about 40 miles southeast of Sioux City has record a population of about 1,400 poeople in the 2,000 census.

The system is headed for Chicago, but the risk of severe weather is reported to be reduced according to forecasters.