The May 15th – 16th Tornado outbreak of 1968

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.

  • Arkansas
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Ohio
  • Tennessee

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.

Resource credit: National Weather Service

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.

RELATED: May 15 1968 Iowa Tornado Summary – official Facebook page for the Charles City Tornado.

9th May 2016 Oklahoma Tornado outbreak – relive the outbreak in video

We wrote about one of the Tornadoes that struck during this outbreak yesterday – find article here.

Severe thunderstorms developed along/ahead of a dryline across central Oklahoma
during the afternoon on the 9th May 2016.

The thunderstorms swept across central and eastern Oklahoma during the evening hours. Before the storms moved into the area, the atmosphere ahead of the dryline in central and eastern Oklahoma had become very unstable.

The above mentioned instability, combined with extremely strong wind shear – associated with a strong trough of low pressure that moved into the southern Plains from the southern Rockies – led to the development of supercell thunderstorms.

A handful of these supercell thunderstorms produced a number of Tornadoes. It’s safe to suggest some of these Tornadoes were damaging and long-lived Tornadoes – two of which were killer.

One of the Tornadoes that struck was the Katie, Oklahoma Tornado – which killed one person and was rated EF-4. Another Tornado that happened in Johnston and Coal counties also killed one person and was rated EF-3.

One of the supercell thunderstorms mentioned above produced multiple Tornadoes as it tracked along and near an outflow boundary which earlier produced morning thunderstorms tied with a previous system.

The boundary had settled across southwestern Oklahoma by the afternoon. The most noteworthy Tornado associated with this thunderstorm was the EF-3 Tornado which happened near the towns of Bennington and Boswell.

With that being said, relive the outbreak of Tornadoes in the videos below.


1st December 2018 Illinois Tornado outbreak – relive the outbreak in video

This outbreak was late in the season to say the least.

On the 1st December 2018, a number of supercell thunderstorms produced a significant amount of Tornadoes across central and southwest Illinois.

According to storm surveys/reports, approxmintanly twenty nine tornadoes occurred across the state – largest December outbreak since 1957.

It’s suffice to say Taylorville, Illinois was hardest hit. With that being said, relieve the outbreak in the videos below.


AL Tornado survivor Earnestine Reese: “you tell god thank you!”

We love you Earnestine! <3

In the video below, watch Earnestine Reese (seventy two years old) talking to family moments after she was pulled from the debris of her destroyed home.

The video was captured yesterday by Delrico Eiland and was posted by James Spann.

Even though Reese suffered a broken hip, this lady is strong as hell! We wish her all the best and a speedy recovery.