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THE CAMANCHE, IOWA TORNADO, JUNE 3, 1860


Over the years Iowa has been struck by a number of deadly long track tornadoes. One of the worst just had its 161st anniversary and impacted the core of my area. The Camanche tornado (likely more than one) killed 141 people, 115 in Iowa, 74 in Clinton County, and injured 329. Some of the injured later died of their injuries raising the total in some estimates to approximately 200. Damage was measured at $945,000 (more than 30 million in today's dollars).

The tornado started in Hamilton county Iowa, (about an hour north of Des Moines) and traveled just south of due east deep into northern Illinois as far east as Amboy where it finally lifted around 9pm. It's likely the supercell cycled producing tornadoes for well over 6hrs. The town most directly hit was Camanche, Iowa, where over 50 people were killed. Nearly the whole town was wiped off the map by the tornado that was reported to be 1/2 mile wide at this time.