Yesterday and today marks the fifty
first anniversary of the outbreak.
The May 15th
-16th 1968 Tornado outbreak was a significant and deadly
event. The outbreak of Tornadoes affected the states listed below.
This outbreak produced thirty nine Tornadoes from 3:28pm on the 15th May till 2:50am on the 16th May. This included two F5/EF-5 Tornadoes in Iowa1.
1: The first
F5/EF-5 Tornado swept through five counties and sixty five miles. It affected
Charles City just before 5:00pm. This particular Tornado destroyed much of the
area. Damage figures were estimated up to thirty million dollars in Charles
City alone whilst one point five million dollars in damage was recorded
elsewhere. This F5/EF-5 killed thirteen people and injured almost four hundred
and sixty people.
featured photo of this article is that of the F5/EF-5 that struck Charles City –
however the photo was captured two miles southwest of the city by Floyd County
The second F5/EF-5
Tornado affected Fayette County at around 4:57pm. It destroyed or damaged
nearly a thousand homes. The hardest hit areas were Oelwein and Maynard where
homes were completely swept away from their foundations. Five people were
killed by this F5/EF-5 whilst one hundred and sixty were injured.
These were two
of four F5/EF-5 Tornadoes that struck the United States during the year of 1968
– the other two; southwestern Ohio on the 23rd April and Minnesota
on the 13th June. The next and last official F5/EF-5 Tornado that
touched down in Iowa was in Jordan on the 13th June 1976.
The thirty nine
Tornadoes spawned during this outbreak killed seventy two people and caused twelve
hundred injuries. You can find more details on the outbreak here.
In this post however, we’ll be focusing on the Parkersburg, Iowa EF-5 Tornado – which struck on the 25th May 2008 – find out more at the bottom of the article.
In the surveillance camera video below, watch the May 2008 Parkersburg, Iowa Tornado completely obliterate a home.
The surveillance camera footage was captured by the surveillance camera at First State Bank – bank’s drive-up ATM – in Parkersburg.
The above mentioned Tornado tore a forty three mile-long path across the counties of Butler and Black Hawk in Iowa.
The EF-5 took the lives of nine people, injuring dozens and causing several millions of dollars worth of damage.
The Tornado began near the Butler and Grundy County line, two miles south of Aplington, Iowa at 4:48pm (CDT).
The Tornado grew quickly in size and intensity over the next several minutes as it approached Parkersburg.
The Tornado was nearly three-quarters of a mile wide as it moved through the southern end of Parkersburg at 4:56 (CDT).
A third of the town experienced devastating damage with nearly two hundred homes completely destroyed.
The Tornado maintained it’s size and intensity as it moved through New Hartford, Iowa. At 5:09pm (CDT), the severe weather event moved just north of New Hartford, once again causing incredible structural and tree damage.
The Tornado weakened east of New Hartford with lesser damage as it pushed through portions of northern Black Hawk County – north of the cities of Waterloo and Cedar Falls.
During the weak phase of the Tornado, the parents supercell thunderstorm produced significant straight line winds from a large rear-flank downdraft (RFD) just south of the Tornado’s path.
Wind speeds of up to one hundred miles per hour were produced simply by the RFD, with a wind gust to ninety three at 5:37pm (CDT) measured at the Waterloo Airport.
The Tornado re-intensified and grew nearly one and a half miles wide north of Dunkerton, Iowa causing significant damage to a farmstead there. The Tornado dissipated just before leaving Black Hawk County at 5:50pm (CDT).