50th Anniversary of Oelwein Tornado

Today marked 50 years since a tornado outbreak devastated areas of northeast Iowa.

It was May 15, 1968 when a F5 tornado passed through downtown Oelwein and moved north-northeast to Maynard. It ended about five miles north-northeast of Maynard.

The National Weather Service says a total of 965 families were affected by that tornado. Five people were killed– and of the 156 people injured, 34 of them were hospitalized.

Loss estimates ranged upward to 21 million dollars, with most of that damage in Oelwein, where homes were completely swept away from their foundations.

A F5 tornado also destroyed much of the Charles City area that day, killing 13 people and injuring hundreds more.

Since this outbreak, no other tornadoes have produced this many deaths or injuries in Iowa.


(photo courtesy of National Weather Service)