Today, May 15th of 2018, is the 50th anniversary of the tornado outbreak that caused millions of dollars in damage to some Northeast Iowa cities, along with several deaths.

Just a few minutes before 5pm on May 15th of 1968, an F-5 tornado touched down just southwest of Oelwein, creating a path of destruction down the middle of town.

51 businesses were destroyed, along with 68 homes, 2 churches, an elementary school and a middle school building.

One person died of her injuries in Oelwein.

That tornado moved northeast to Maynard, flattening the west side of town, and killing 2 people.

In Charles City, another F-5 tornado struck the town just a couple of minutes before the one in Oelwein; 13 people were killed, 372 homes and 58 businesses were destroyed, along with 8 churches and 3 schools.

5 tornadoes touched down in Iowa that day; part of an outbreak of 39 tornadoes that struck ten states. Then-president Lyndon Johnson declared the state of Iowa as a disaster area.


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