Today marks the 6 year anniversary of the Parkersburg, Iowa EF5 tornado. The violent wedge twister hit just before 5:00pm and cut a 3/4 mile path of devastation through the southern half of the city. The storm killed 9 and is the last EF5 to occur in Iowa.
Chief Deputy Tim Wolthoff of neighboring Grundy County was on duty that day, patrolling the area for storms with his 20-year-old son. He snapped these images and watched helplessly as the storm roared across Parkersburg.
The tornado actually was on the ground for 40 miles with a continuous path of destruction. I was in Parkersburg shortly after the storm and I have never seen anything as astounding as that. Complete devastation as far as I could see. Upon arriving on the scene, people who had lived in the city for decades had a difficult time finding their homes. Nothing was left. I’ll never forget the spray paint on the remains of cars and homes indicating that they had been searched for bodies. The smell of splintered wood and the sound of chain saws permeated the air.
Here is an excellent summary of the event from THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN DES MOINES, IOWA
Some damage pictures, much like the ones I took.
Below is an incredible video of a house exploding taken from a bank security camera.
The Parkersburg tornado is one of the worst in Iowa history. Since 1950 only 6 EF5 twisters have occurred in the state. Before Parkersburg you have to go back to 1976 to find the last Iowa EF5. Roll weather… TS