Tornadoes Rip Through Eastern Iowa, Killing One
By TODD DVORAK and JOE NUGENT, AP
IOWA CITY, Iowa (April 14, 2006) --
Tornadoes tore across a university campus overnight, ripping
walls off a church and sorority house, crushing houses and cars,
and killing a woman in a mobile home southeast of town.
University of Iowa sophomore Melissa
Fortman huddled with friends in the basement their sorority as
the sirens sounded, then decided to run upstairs for her
homework just as the tornado hit.
"There was debris flying everywhere
inside the house," Fortman told ABC's "Good Morning
America" Friday. "I couldn't go down stairs because
there was debris and glass flying up the stairs, so I just hid
in a telephone booth we have in our house and I just hid there
As talked outside the Alpha Chi Omega
house early Friday, entire walls were gone and the interior of
several rooms were visible from the street. Two cars had been
tossed into a nearby ravine, and glass, debris and tree limbs
littered the neighborhood.
The twisters swept across eastern Iowa,
with the worst damage in a path from Iowa City southeast through
the small town of Nichols, about 20 miles away, the National
Weather Service said.
"We have a path in the Nichols area
that's four to five miles long," said Maj. Dave White of
the Muscatine County sheriff's office.
He said the tornado hits farms, knocked a
tractor-trailer off a road, then hit the mobile home with a man
and woman inside.
"It blew it off the foundation and
the trailer rolled and basically disintegrated," White
said. He said the man was "banged up" but he refused
medical attention. The woman, whose identify was not released,
died in the storm.
Gov. Tom Vilsack declared a state of
emergency for Johnson, Jones and Muscatine counties.
In Iowa City, 21 people were reported
treated at hospitals for storm-related injuries, none believed
to be life-threatening.
"We don't have any reports of
serious injuries, which is short of miraculous considering what
some of the damage appears to be," University of Iowa
spokesman Steve Parrot said.
As many as three tornados touched down in
Iowa City. Downtown half the roof of St. Patrick's Catholic
Church was torn off. Store windows were shattered, some
buildings were partially collapsed and homes and apartments were
heavily damaged. Thousands of homes were without power Friday
Parrot said the university opened the
Iowa Memorial Union and brought in mattresses for students
needing a place to stay and canceled class on Friday.
Ryan Gibney just felt lucky to be alive
Friday morning. His distressed call to 911 after a tornado hit
an Iowa City shop captured the moments of chaos in the storm's
"Please. I'm underneath a wall, the
whole building collapsed," Gibney can be heard telling the
dispatcher. "I didn't know what happened. I opened the door
right before it ripped the ceiling right off the side of the
shop. I can't get the door off me, I'm pinned right now. Please
His leg was injured, but he was able to
walk and help with the cleanup the next morning.
"I thought that was going to be the
end of it for me for sure," Gibney told "Good Morning
The storm system knocked down trees and
power lines in northwest Illinois communities as well after
crossing the Mississippi River around 10 p.m.
In neighborhoods across Iowa City, people
pilled up tree limbs, splintered wood, brick and roofing
materials as they cleared streets and yards.
In a downtown parking lot, cars sat amid
broken glass and metal parts, with one vehicle overturned and
others blown several feet from their original parking spots.
Police said a roof collapsed at a pedestrian mall. A water line
broke and there were concerns about gas lines.
Firefighter Darrall Brick looked on with
dismay after the storm as he watched some people walking around
downed power lines.
"These students just don't realize
how dangerous it is," he said, noting how the crowds have
prevented emergency crews from traveling to disaster sites.
The Iowa National Guard deployed 25
soldiers early Friday morning to provide security, keep people
away from danger spots and help assess damage, said spokesman
Lt. Col. Greg Hapgood.
MidAmerican Energy reported early Friday
morning that about 7,000 homes and businesses in eastern Iowa
were without power -- including 6,200 in Iowa City. Officials
said crews would work through the night but could not say when
the power would be restored.
4/14/2006 11:24 EST
Copyright 2006 The Associated Press.
KASOTA, MN, United States (UPI)
8-26-06 --- One man was killed and
several others were injured when a
tornado swept through Le Sueur and
Nicollet counties in the south central
part of Minnesota.
Tom Doherty, chief deputy of the Le
Sueur County Sheriff`s Office, said
the man, who was described as being in
his 80`s or 90`s, died Thursday after
his house near Kasota, Minn., was
leveled by the tornado, The
Minneapolis Star Tribune reported. The
injured were taken to local hospitals
with broken bones and other injuries.
National Weather Service forecaster
Karen Trammell said the tornado
traveled 10 miles on the ground from
Nicollet to Kasota and then lifted and
touched down again sporadically to the
Heavy damage was reported in Kasota
and Cleveland, and the mayor of
Nicollet reported that a tornado had
leveled homes and destroyed the roofs
of other structures in the city.
A tornado also touched down
Thursday 2.5 miles south of Steele,
N.D. said weather service
meteorologist John Martin but no
damage was reported from that storm,
the Bismarck (N.D.) Tribune said.
Copyright 2006 by
United Press International
McPherson County tornado classified as F3
By Russ Keen
American News Writer
The tornado that ripped through McPherson County ,
South Dakota on Thursday was an F3, the National Weather
Service in Aberdeen has determined.
That means its wind speed ranged from 158 to 206 mph.
An F5 tornado, which is the most severe the earth's
atmosphere can sustain, has wind speeds of 261 to 318 mph.
The Thursday tornado was on the ground for 27 minutes
and traveled 14 miles, the weather service has determined.
At its widest, the tornado stretched 300 yards.
It left a debris path as far as 3 miles from the
damaged sites. The tornado first touched down at 5:03 p.m.
about 7 miles southwest of Eureka on the Campbell County
line and tracked nearly in a straight line southeast to 6
miles southeast of Hillsview before lifting, according to
the weather service.
Its investigative crews also reported spotting numerous
dead cattle and deer in the tornado's path.
For the weather service's complete report go to
Near the top center of the page, click into "F3 tornado in
DREAMS OF THE GREAT EARTHCHANGES -