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.
FYI: The 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 Sheriff.
RELATED: 1968 Charles City Tornado – interesting survivor stories feature in this blogpost.
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.