Anniversary of Deadly Tornado Outbreak
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.