SPC Stats

Path length: 13.1 miles

Width:  500 yards

Fatalities:  5

Injuries:  156

Rating:  F5

County:  Fayette

A second F5 tornado in the state of Iowa developed at approximately the same time as one further northwest was rolling through Charles City on May 15, 1968.   

This tornado tracked through parts of Fayette County.  The greatest destruction was in the towns of Oelwein and Maynard.  Nearly 1,000 homes were damaged, some were swept off their foundation.  5 people were killed and over 150 injured.   Loss estimate approximately 21 million dollars.  Per Thomas Grazulis in Significant Tornadoes, the warning sirens sounded for only 15 seconds before a power failure in Oelwein.

This tornado was a part of a larger outbreak and as I mentioned was the 2nd of 2 F5s this day.  Here is the summary on the first that barreled through Charles City, IA.  

Tornado Path

Click Map To Enlarge

SPC coordinates:  Start: 42.67 / -91.93   End:  42.85 / -91.85      

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 Ma 1968 Storm Data Publication and Thomas Grazulis in Significant Tornadoes and found the following differences:

Path Length:

  • SPC/NCDC have a 13.1 mile path length.
  • Grazulis and Storm Data have a 15 mile path length.


      The Storm Prediction Center

      NCDC Storm Events Database

      May 1968 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 1098.

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