SPC Stats

Path length: 10.9 miles

Width:  1320 yards

Fatalities:  0

Injuries:  8

Rating:  F4

County:  Howard, Chickasaw, Fayette

Per the SPC Database, there were 5 tornadoes on July 12, 1971….all in Iowa. The strongest was rated F4.  It began in Howard County near Elma and traveled close to 30 miles into Chickasaw County and ending in Fayette County near Waucoma.  

The SPC database entry for this event only has a path length of 10.9 miles. Storm Data and Grazulis all show a length at 30 miles.  When you add up the segments in NCDC you get a path length of 30.9 miles.  Plotting the path, 30 miles appears to be correct.

Not a lot of information on this tornado from Storm Data.  They state, “Nearly 50 farmsteads extensively damaged.”  Grazulis adds, “Three homes and barns swept away.”   There were 8 injuries reported.

Tornado Path

Click Map To Enlarge

SPC coordinates:  Start: 43.23 / -92.45   End:  43.07 / -92.05      

Note:  Exact tornado path may not be straight and/or continuous.

Newspaper Clippings


We gathered information for this event from the SPC & NCDC Databases, the July 1971 Storm Data Publication and Thomas Grazulis in Significant Tornadoes and found the following differences:

Path Length:

  • SPC has a path length of 10.9 miles.
  • NCDC has a path length of 30.9 miles.
  • Both Grazulis and Storm Data have a path length of 30 miles.

Max Width:

  • Grazulis has a width of 400 yards.
  • Remaining sources list the width at 1320 yards.


  • Storm Data doesn’t mention Fayette County in the tornado entry for this event.
  • Remaining sources have all 3 counties (Howard, Chickasaw and Fayette). 


      The Storm Prediction Center

      NCDC Storm Events Database

      July 1971 Storm Data Publication


      Grazulis, Thomas P. (1993). Significant Tornadoes 1680-1991: A Chronology and Analysis of Events. St. Johnsbury, VT: The Tornado Project of Environmental Films. Page 1126.

      Questions or comments about this summary?  Contact us here!

      Join the tornado history discussion on our Discord Server!

      Note:  There are some images/videos in our summaries that were licensed to us to be used only on this website. If you would like to use an image/video in your project or blog, please contact us and we will grant permission if possible.

      Newspaper clips are embedded via newspapers.com. Please see their terms and conditions.


      Would you like to see more summaries like this one?  Support Tornado Talk on Patreon! Become a Patron!


      Leave a Reply

      Avatar placeholder
      You cannot copy content of this page