(CNN)Seven people, including two children, died in a series of tornadoes that ripped through multiple counties near Des Moines, Iowa, Saturday, officials said.
Six Madison County residents were killed, Madison County Emergency Management Director Diogenes Ayala said. The oldest victim was 72-years-old and the youngest was aged 2, Ayala told a news conference in Winterset Sunday afternoon. He had earlier said there were two victims aged under 5.
A person in a rural area near the Lucas County city of Chariton was also killed, an official said.
The National Weather Service (NWS) office in Des Moines said an initial estimate of the Madison County tornado showed it was an EF3, with wind speeds of at least 136 miles per hour. It hopes to complete a damage survey for the Winterset tornado on Monday.
The NWS said Sunday the Winterset tornado was one of at least two EF3 tornadoes to hit Iowa on Saturday. Damage surveys from the NWS offices in Des Moines and Quad Cities suggested another EF3 with estimated winds of 138 mph was responsible for damage near Chariton, it said.
That tornado was on the ground for 16 and a half miles.
In addition, an EF2 tornado with estimated winds of 122 mph occurred near Leon, which was on the ground for 19 miles.
An EF1 tornado with 110 mph winds occurred in Vinton, another with 100 mph winds struck in West Lake Park and an EF-0 tornado also impacted West Lake Park with 65 mph winds, according to the NWS.
Ayala said the Winterset tornado damaged or destroyed about 52 homes in Madison County within a span of 13.7 miles and that the wind speed at one point reached 155 miles per hour.
Six people in the county are still being treated for injuries sustained in the tornado, officials said. Ayala had previously said that one adult had life-threatening injuries and three others had been hospitalized in serious condition.
“This is, I think, the worst anyone has seen in quite a long time,” Ayala said Sunday morning.
The tornado, which ripped through multiple counties near Des Moines, also left one adult with life-threatening injuries and three others hospitalized in serious condition, Ayala said.
Mike Lamb, emergency management coordinator for Lucas, Appanoose, Davis and Monroe Counties said as well as one person killed near Chariton, multiple people were also injured.
The tornado caused damage to several homes, buildings, power lines and vegetation, Lamb said in a news release Sunday morning.
Two people were injured in Polk County, the sheriff’s office said in a Facebook post.
The NWS in Des Moines had earlier warned a “large and extremely dangerous storm” was moving toward Pleasant Hill, a city about five miles east of Des Moines, and people should seek shelter immediately.
The severe weather caused “damage to several homes, power lines, and trees,” the sheriff’s office said. First responders were in the area conducting a damage assessment and helping residents.
“Downed power lines, standing water and debris blocking roadways are creating dangerous travel conditions in this area and we are asking for the public’s assistance by staying clear of the area and allowing these agencies to work unimpeded,” the sheriff’s office cautioned in the post.
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds issued a disaster proclamation for Madison County, saying she and her husband are praying for the lives claimed and those injured in the tornado.
The proclamation allows state resources to be used for response and recovery efforts in Madison County, according to the news release. Other counties may be added to the proclamation.
“Today, as you pray for the situation in Ukraine, please also pray for the victims of yesterday’s deadly tornadoes in Iowa—for those that tragically lost their lives, those injured, and those whose properties suffered severe damage,” Gov. Reynolds tweeted Sunday morning.
Reynolds, who spent the morning touring impacted communities, told reporters Sunday afternoon that she had seen hundreds of volunteers out helping their neighbors.
She said she spoke earlier Sunday with Department of Homeland Security Secretary. Alejandro Mayorkas, who offered federal assistance as needed.
Severe storms had been forecast for Iowa, including in Des Moines, Saturday afternoon and evening.
A tornado watch is now in effect for western and northern Arkansas, southeast Oklahoma and southern Missouri until 8 pm CST, according to the Storm Prediction Center.
The center says tornadoes are likely, some of them intense, along with storms containing hail larger than golf balls and damaging wind gusts up to 70 mph in the watch area, CNN Meteorologist Gene Norman said. The storms are set to develop Sunday afternoon and evening.
Typically in March, severe weather is focused over the Gulf Coast states, from Texas to Florida. For example, Texas averages 11 tornadoes in March, while Iowa typically only sees two.
CNN’s Jennifer Feldman, Allison Chinchar, Hannah Sarisohn, Aya Elamroussi, Joe Sutton, Gene Norman and Susannah Cullinane contributed to this report.