Iowa Tornado Toll Estimated at $6M

June 2, 2008

The deadly EF5 tornado that ripped through northeastern Iowa reportedly did more than $6 million in damage.

According to a preliminary estimate from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management, about $6.01 million in damage was done during the storm and nearly half of Parkersburg was destroyed .

The bulk of the damage — more than $3 million worth — was done in Butler County.

The damage estimates cover noninsured losses eligible under federal assistance programs. Insured damages to private homes and business as well as damages to utilities are not included. Actual damages caused by the storm will be much higher, the governor’s office said in a news release.

The tornado leveled half of Parkersburg and killed seven people. It was the strongest tornado to hit the state in 32 years, according to the National Weather Service.

The twister stretched three-quarters of a mile wide and had winds up to 205 miles per hour, carving a path through Parkersburg and several nearby towns.

The weather service ranked it an EF5 — at the top of its scale.

The tornado was the worst in the United States since May 4, 2007, when an EF5 twister flattened Greensburg, Kan., killing 11 people with winds up to 205 mph. That storm spanned more than a mile and a half.

Iowa’s last EF5 was in June 13, 1976, in the central Iowa town of Jordan. No one was killed.

An estimated 394 homes were destroyed Sunday, and another 227 were damaged.

President Bush and Gov. Chet Culver have issued disaster declarations for the area.

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