April 9th was a big day in Iowa. For me it was the day I got married. But for people in western Iowa, it was a day that saw an outbreak of tornadoes. 18 tornadoes touched down in Iowa that day, including a number of twisters rated an EF-3. The largest amount of damage occurred in the town of Mapleton where hundreds were displaced by the storm. Many lost their homes.
Also that day was one tornado that was not on the ground very long and did not do a whole lot of damage, but enough to warrant a classification of EF-4 on the Enhanced Fujita scale. In that time the tornado destroyed a home and rolled a farm combine (not exactly a light piece of machinery). The National Weather Service captured the pictures you see below and estimated winds in this tornado reached 170 miles per hour. That’s a lower end EF-4 tornado. This particular tornado was only on the ground for 3 miles over the course of 6 minutes. But it had a width of over 500yards.
The good news was this tornado, although powerful, his a very rural area. Had it hit a more densely populated area, lives could have been lost. There were a number of other tornadoes on April 9th, including the Mapleton tornado, that were rated an EF-3. On an average year this would be considered a large tornado outbreak. But now with the thoughts of last weeks mega outbreak in the south, this one pales in comparison.