1968: Five tornadoes strike Iowa

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During the late afternoon and early evening of May 15, 1968, five tornadoes, two F1s, one F2, and two F5s occurred in Iowa. These tornadoes were part of the May 15-16, 1968 outbreak with a total of 39 tornadoes which affected ten states; Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, and Tennessee. The tornadoes in Iowa caused 18 fatalities and 619 injuries of which 450 occurred in Charles City alone. The huge tornado, approximately a half mile wide passed directly through Charles City from south to north. The tornado destroyed, 372 homes and 58 businesses, 188 homes and 90 businesses sustained major damage, and 356 homes and 46 businesses sustained minor damage. Eight churches, 3 schools were damaged or destroyed, the police station was heavily damaged, and 1,250 vehicles were destroyed. About 60 percent of the city was damaged by the tornado. The, Iowa Governor requested federal assistance to repair damage to public facilities resulting from the and on May 29, 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson declared the state of Iowa as a disaster area.

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