TWO YEARS AGO: THE MARSHALLTOWN EF-3 TORNADO

July 20, 2020

On July 19th, 2018 multiple tornadoes touched down in central Iowa.

 That included twin twisters in Bondurant, an EF-3 in Pella and the EF-3 that went into the heart of Marshalltown. 

 It's a radar image you don't see all that much in this neck of the woods. A clear hook echo and a TDS (tornado debris signature) showing evidence of a tornado and a large tornado at that. It formed after the storm producing the tornado in Pella (to the south) sent out an outflow boundary. The boundary fed the storm (essentially) and lead to stronger rotation that produced a large tornado that formed just outside of the city. 

 

A rare Tornado Emergency was issued for Marshalltown, the National Weather Service saying a large tornado would produce "catastrophic" damage. The NWS survey would estimate winds at 144 mph. 

 

Picture from Denise Pelster:

 Pictures from Aaron Gerhardt:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We heard the courthouse was damaged. Multiple trees downed. A call for first responders. The damage was extensive. Luckily, no one was killed or even seriously injured.

Two years later and the town is still rebuilding. There are some homes that were taken down because of the damage. Signs of trees that were once there now gone. Some businesses downtown still in need of repairs, some abandoned. 

The Marshall County Courthouse which not just had it's top ripped off but had tons of water damage on the inside is still a work in progress.

Photo by me about a month ago:

 If you're interested in more you can watch this special put together by me and Nick Stewart. We traveled back to Marshalltown to get the story of the tornado and the recovery two years later. You can watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ha2SduThhqk

 

Now fast forward to the present and there haven't been many tornadoes -- or many strong tornadoes -- in the state of Iowa this year. There have been around 24 tornadoes in Iowa and all of them have been EF-1 or weaker in strength. Illinois has had around 39 tornadoes and I'm not sure about the strengths. 

 

This week there will be chances for showers and thunderstorms, but severe weather chances are on the low side. That can always change based on how these storms system set up and the timing. The next chance for storms comes Monday night into Tuesday...

 There will be another round of rain Wednesday night into Thursday.

 

RK

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© 2019 Terry Swails