FIVE TORNADOES STRIKE
IOWA CITY ON THE 13TH OF APRIL 2006
Record breaking 88 degree temperature (old record was 78)
followed in the evening by record-breaking tornadoes.
from Tornado Alley
God, it’s coming right at us,” I yelled at Margaret.
sounds like a freight train, just like they said,” she replied as we
ducked six or eight steps inside to our concrete box “root cellar”
which accesses onto the front driveway.
fierce lightening storm produced a bright strike at that moment.
“It’s on the ground; there is debris showing in the cone,”
I said mostly to myself for Margaret already was in the protected room.
city tornado sirens had wailed several minutes earlier, just like dozens
of times before when nothing other than strong wind shifts and rain
storm had already included hail from pea to near walnut size which had
made the deck and red driveway mostly white.
No real damage.
recall in 1967 when we lived six blocks away along Bloomington Street
that we got hail the size of golf balls which ruined many roofs and
dented most of the cars in Iowa City.
new storm produced a gust of wind that overturned a potted tree on the
front drive waiting to be put in the ground as soon as the finish
grading on an addition is complete.
The big-wheeled garbage can tipped over.
stood in the cellar listening to the radio for four or five minutes,
Repeated warnings for Iowa Citians to take cover.
close as it was when we saw it, it has to be safe for us by now; I’m
going out side,” I said, again mostly to myself for Margaret was glued
to the little battery-powered radio.
I exited to the west the neighbor’s house across Reno Street was lit
and relit in rapid succession almost like those globes above a dance
floor by lighting east of us reflecting off the siding into my face.
I’ve rarely seen such intense lightening, which literally kept
the sky ablaze constantly.
morning after an early appointment, Margaret and I returned across town
via Riverside Drive and Iowa Avenue below Old Capitol before turning
east on Jefferson. Orientation
groups passed in front us from the Anne T. Clarey Walkway onto the
turned south on Dubuque Street, then east on Washington.
The utter devastation of a block-wide path clear through Iowa
City began to settle in on us as we approached College Green Park.
St. Pat's Catholic Church lost a wall and its entire roof; no fire, but
like a bombed out building.
obvious tornado to cut such a narrow path of such awful destruction, it
must have touched down near Menards lumber on the far southwest edge
of Iowa City, then ran northeast about three miles clear across town to
near Regina Catholic Education Center in the northeast quadrant of town.
Menards and Regina and a bit beyond, utter war zone conditions of
tangled trees, debris, damaged structures, power lines and the other
accouterments of urban life arranged in a jumble of horrid mess.
are so fortunate in two ways: not only are we safe and our home fully in
tact although littered lightly with a thousand bits of building
insulation, but our son who lives two block southeast of Regina also was
spared immediate damage.
lucky we are,” Margaret said as we turned off Rochester Avenue toward
Reno Street after again going though the storm’s path of devastation
in the Ralston Creek bottom near Seventh Avenue.
“One for the history books,” I replied, shaking my head in disbelief. “Next time, those sirens will sound far more threatening!”
At least five tornadoes tore through county
The National Weather Service said today
that it was an F2 tornado that cut a 3½-mile long, one-third of a
mile wide swath of destruction through the heart of Iowa City.