Tornadoes rip through Iowa

Thousands of people were without power Friday after a flurry of unexpected tornadoes swept through central Iowa, injuring at least 17 people and flattening buildings in three cities.

The storms even surprised weather forecasters when they hit the region Thursday afternoon, causing extensive damage to a manufacturing plant and prompting the evacuation of a hospital.

In Marshalltown, where 10 people were injured, brick walls collapsed into the streets, roofs were blown off buildings and the cupola of the historic courthouse tumbled to the ground. Seven more people were hurt when a tornado hit a factory in Pella, though no deaths have been reported.

More than 5,800 customers remained without power in Marshalltown early Friday, and natural gas service has been shut down in part of the city, according to Alliant Energy. The utility said crews have been dispatched to repair damage and assess which areas can have gas service safely restored. (AP)

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<p>A local resident runs past a tornado-damaged building on Main Street, Thursday, July 19, 2018, in Marshalltown, Iowa. Several buildings were damaged by a tornado in the main business district in town including the historic courthouse. (Photo: Charlie Neibergall/AP) </p>
Tornadoes rip through Iowa

A local resident runs past a tornado-damaged building on Main Street, Thursday, July 19, 2018, in Marshalltown, Iowa. Several buildings were damaged by a tornado in the main business district in town including the historic courthouse. (Photo: Charlie Neibergall/AP)

<p>A local resident rides his bike past a toppled street sign on Main Street, Thursday, July 19, 2018, in Marshalltown, Iowa. Several buildings were damaged by a tornado in the main business district in town including the historic courthouse. (Photo: Charlie Neibergall/AP) </p>
Tornadoes rip through Iowa

A local resident rides his bike past a toppled street sign on Main Street, Thursday, July 19, 2018, in Marshalltown, Iowa. Several buildings were damaged by a tornado in the main business district in town including the historic courthouse. (Photo: Charlie Neibergall/AP)

<p>Roy Schweinebart, of Marshalltown, Iowa, shovels bricks from a tornado-damaged building near Main Street, Thursday, July 19, 2018, in Marshalltown, Iowa. Several buildings were damaged by a tornado in the main business district in town including the historic courthouse. (Photo: Charlie Neibergall/AP) </p>
Tornadoes rip through Iowa

Roy Schweinebart, of Marshalltown, Iowa, shovels bricks from a tornado-damaged building near Main Street, Thursday, July 19, 2018, in Marshalltown, Iowa. Several buildings were damaged by a tornado in the main business district in town including the historic courthouse. (Photo: Charlie Neibergall/AP)

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<p>Stephanie Moz, of Marshalltown, Iowa, cleans out her tornado-damaged business on Main Street, Thursday, July 19, 2018, in Marshalltown, Iowa. Several buildings were damaged by a tornado in the main business district in town including the historic courthouse. (Photo: Charlie Neibergall/AP) </p>
Tornadoes rip through Iowa

Stephanie Moz, of Marshalltown, Iowa, cleans out her tornado-damaged business on Main Street, Thursday, July 19, 2018, in Marshalltown, Iowa. Several buildings were damaged by a tornado in the main business district in town including the historic courthouse. (Photo: Charlie Neibergall/AP)

<p>Juan Moz, of Marshalltown, Iowa, helps clean out a tornado-damaged business on Main Street, Thursday, July 19, 2018, in Marshalltown, Iowa. Several buildings were damaged by a tornado in the main business district in town including the historic courthouse. (Photo: Charlie Neibergall/AP) </p>
Tornadoes rip through Iowa

Juan Moz, of Marshalltown, Iowa, helps clean out a tornado-damaged business on Main Street, Thursday, July 19, 2018, in Marshalltown, Iowa. Several buildings were damaged by a tornado in the main business district in town including the historic courthouse. (Photo: Charlie Neibergall/AP)

<p>Juan Moz, of Marshalltown, Iowa, helps clean out a tornado-damaged business on Main Street, Thursday, July 19, 2018, in Marshalltown, Iowa. Several buildings were damaged by a tornado in the main business district in town including the historic courthouse. (Photo: Charlie Neibergall/AP) </p>
Tornadoes rip through Iowa

Juan Moz, of Marshalltown, Iowa, helps clean out a tornado-damaged business on Main Street, Thursday, July 19, 2018, in Marshalltown, Iowa. Several buildings were damaged by a tornado in the main business district in town including the historic courthouse. (Photo: Charlie Neibergall/AP)

<p>Workers clean up bricks from a tornado-damaged business on Main Street, Thursday, July 19, 2018, in Marshalltown, Iowa. Several buildings were damaged by a tornado in the main business district in town including the historic courthouse. (Photo: Charlie Neibergall/AP) </p>
Tornadoes rip through Iowa

Workers clean up bricks from a tornado-damaged business on Main Street, Thursday, July 19, 2018, in Marshalltown, Iowa. Several buildings were damaged by a tornado in the main business district in town including the historic courthouse. (Photo: Charlie Neibergall/AP)

<p>A tornado is seen near Pella, Marion County, Iowa, U.S. July 19, 2018 in this still image obtained from a video on social media. (Photo: Brandyn Van Zante/Twitter/via Reuters) </p>
Tornadoes rip through Iowa

A tornado is seen near Pella, Marion County, Iowa, U.S. July 19, 2018 in this still image obtained from a video on social media. (Photo: Brandyn Van Zante/Twitter/via Reuters)

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