POSTED: Sunday, April 15, 2012 - 3:16pm
UPDATED: Monday, April 16, 2012 - 10:11am
NBC NATIONAL NEWS — Sirens sounded throughout much of the central and southern plains Saturday night, warning of monster storms that were moving fast and touching down for quick strikes - leaving pockets of destruction in Thurman, Iowa. Rescuers say three quarters of the town is wiped away.
"It just seemed to last forever and ever."
"We've got a fire it looks like from the downed power line."
Destruction spread from Iowa to Oklahoma.
Storm chasers from affiliate station KFOR fed back pictures live as forecasters kept up a steady drumbeat of warnings
"Everybody out ahead of this needs to go to their safe spot. No doubt about it. This thing is crazy."
The Weather Service warned that the storms could lead to "high-end life threatening event." Nebraska's Governor Dave Heineman told the Weather Channel's Jim Cantore that advance notice was extremely important to getting his state ready.
"When you guys put out the warnings that you put out we take it very, very seriously because normally we don't get his much warning,” he said.
But at times the twisters were covering so much ground they couldn't be avoided.
In northwest Oklahoma a community is struggling with the loss of five, and 29 others were brought to the hospital. Five of those are in critical condition.
Crews are still searching the rubble for others who may be trapped or dead.