UPDATE: Five Tornadoes Confirmed In Northeast Iowa, 13 Statewide
Five tornadoes touched down in northeast Iowa Wednesday night, as a powerful storm moved across the state.
The National Weather Service (NWS) sent survey teams to the area Thursday morning to look at the damage. Officials confirmed two twisters touched down in Floyd County, two others hit Howard County and one reached the ground in Chickasaw County. Two of the tornadoes were rated EF-1 with wind speeds estimated at 110 miles per hour and the other three were rated EF-0 with wind speeds around 85 MPH.
The worst of the damage occurred in Rudd, where residents and volunteers spent the day Thursday cleaning up the debris. NWS officials said an EF-1 tornado knocked down power lines, damaged trees and ripped roofs off some homes as it went through the middle of the small community. The town's library and Historical Society building were among the structures destroyed, and a church sustained major damage. Floyd County Emergency Management officials said the city's water plant also was hit, leaving Rudd without water for a few days.
Photos shared to social media show widespread damage throughout the community.
The tornado hit Rudd around 7 PM. NWS officials said the twister was 65 yards wide and was on the ground for less than one mile.
Also in Floyd County, an 80-yard wide, EF-1 tornado touched down near Marble Rock just before 8 PM and was on the ground for nearly 8.2 miles before dissipating. The fairly long-track tornado hit several farms and a few homes as it moved through a mainly rural area. NWS officials said multiple outbuildings suffered damage, power lines were either damaged or snapped, and numerous trees were blown over from the fast-moving twister.
In Chickasaw County, a low-grade tornado touched down near Elma around 7:15 PM. The EF-0 twister damaged farm equipment and trees along a 5.4-mile path that was 50 yards wide.
The other EF-0 tornadoes struck Howard County around 7:30 PM. One that touched down near Maple Leaf damaged farms and several outbuildings along a 6.9-mile path that was 45 yards wide. Another twister near Schley blew the roof off a hog farm and damaged trees and several outbuildings along a 4.5-mile path that was 50 yards wide.
In all, 13 tornadoes were confirmed across the state Wednesday afternoon and evening. Storm damage was reported in each of Iowa's 99 counties. Nearly 6,000 utility customers were still without electricity Friday morning, as crews continued their restoration efforts.
On Thursday, the National Weather Service categorized Wednesday's storm as a derecho. NWS Meteorologist Brook Hagenhoff said the weather system produced winds in the upper 80s, but the gusts were more spread out across Iowa than they were in 2020.