Shortly before 5 PM on May 15, 1968 a massive F5 tornado tore through Charles City, Iowa, injuring hundreds and killing 13.
This above photo was taken by law enforcement and is the only known picture of the tornado. The original 8mm video footage below shows the destruction left behind in downtown Charles City.
The twister spread debris for miles. A paper receipt from a gas station was found in Winona, MN – about 80 miles away.
According to the National Weather Service, the tornado was on the ground for about 45 minutes, traveling 65 miles and reaching a width of 400 yards. It eventually dissipated just south of the Minnesota border.
There have only been three F5/EF5 tornadoes in Iowa since the #CharlesCity #tornado. One minutes later near Oelwein. The next near Jordan in 1976 and the most recent being Parkersburg in 2008. #iawx #OnThisDay #50YearsAgo #abc6wx https://t.co/oAEWdjWV63
— Chris Kuball (@ChrisKuball) May 15, 2018