Tornadoes in northeast Iowa, southeast Minnesota, and southwest and central Wisconsin
Main Tornado page

Background Information
Statistics (1850-Present)
Records (1850-Present)

Strongest Tornadoes (EF4 & EF5)
in Southeast Minnesota, Northeast Iowa, & Western Wisconsin

1850 to Present
Rank F-Scale Date Time Location Counties Affected Length
(Miles)
Width 
(yards)
Deaths
Injuries
1 F5 5/15/1968 1557 CST Oelwein 1SW to Randalia 2E Fayette, IA 15 500 5 156
  A significant tornado moved north-northeast from southwest of Oelwein to Maynard and east of Randalia. Homes were leveled and swept away in both Oelwein and Maynard. The warning sirens sounded for only 15 seconds before power failed in Oelwein. Nearly 1000 homes were damaged or destroyed along the path, and 34 people had to be hospitalized. Almost 1000 families were affected. Damage was $21 million.
  F5 5/15/1968 1510-1600 CST Hansell 1NE to Chester 2S Butler, IA; Chickasaw, IA; Floyd, IA; Franklin, IA; Howard; IA 65 400 13 462
  Moved northeast from north of Hansell, passing east of Aredale, west of Greene, east of Marble Rock, and devastating Charles City. The tornado grew larger and more intense as it approached Charles City. The huge funnel passed directly through town, destroying 337 homes, and causing about $30 million in damage. The tornado continued to the northeast hitting Elma and causing another $1.5 million in damages. From there the tornado turned to the north and dissipated south of Chester, 4 miles south of the Minnesota border. Nearly 2000 homes were damaged or destroyed. All 13 deaths occurred in Floyd County. 450 injuries were reported in Floyd County and 12 injuries in Howard County.
  F5 8/21/1883 1730 CST Hayfield 4NW to Rochester Dodge, MN; Olmsted; MN 25 1500 37 200
  The tornado moved east northeast from 4 miles northwest of Hayfield passing through and devastating Rochester.  At least 10 of the 40 farms hits in Dodge County were leveled and at least 5 people were killed.  The enormous roar was said to have warned most Rochester residents as the massive tornado cut through the north side of town.  Over 135 homes were destroyed and another 200 damaged.  Many of the injuries were very serious and other deaths probably occurred, but are not listed in the total.  The tornado derailed a train causing many injuries.  At least one crew member was killed.  This tornado was a large factor in the subsequent development of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester.  Total damage was estimated ay $700,000.
2 F4 7/12/1971 1715-1758 CST Elma 2W to Waucoma 1 SW Chickasaw, IA; Fayette, IA; Howard, IA 30 400 0 8
  This tornado moved southeast and hit 50 farms. Three homes and barns were swept away. Damage estimates were $1.5 million. Both Howard and Fayette Counties had 4 injuries apiece.
  F4 5/5/1965 1945-2124 CST Nora Springs 2N (IA) to Yucatan (MN) Fillmore, IA; Floyd, IA; Houston, MN; Howard, IA; Micthell, IA; Winneshiek, IA 80 150 0 17
  Moved east-northeast from 2 miles north of Nora Springs, passing 3 miles north of Cresco and lifting near Yucatan, MN. The only F4 damage was to two large farm houses, 3 miles northwest of Kendallville in Winneshiek County. About 28 farms lost buildings in Iowa. Six people were injured in Minnesota, as homes and barns were destroyed near Canton, Lenora, and Newburg (Fillmore County). Six people were injured in Floyd County and 5 in Howard County.
  F4 9/16/1962 0410 CST Rochester 4SE Olmsted, MN 1 75 0 34
  This brief touchdown level four homes and destroyed seven others. Damage estimates were $200,000.
  F4 6/4/1958 1930-2006 CST Cadott 2SE to Curtiss Chippewa, WI; Clark, WI 27 800 4 3
  Deaths occurred in farm houses south of Boyd and Stanley (Chippewa Co.). There was a later touchdown with F1 damage in Marathon County. No injuries or deaths occurred in Clark County.
  F4 4/19/1957 1530 CST New Lisbon to Necedah 5N Juneau, WI 20 300 1 0
  A small home was destroyed when this "skipping" tornado briefly hit a farm. The house "exploded" killing a man as it was blown away.
  F4 5/10/1953 1920 -2000 CST Hannibal Price, WI; Rusk, WI; Taylor, WI 45 200 0 2
  This storm tracked north-northeast to 7 miles north of Phillips (Price Co.), but the damage path was not continuous. One farm house was leveled and pieces of it were found 7 miles away. The tornado was most intense in Price County where F4 damage was witnessed for 12 miles. Over $150,000 worth of damage.
  F4 5/10/1953 1830 CST Fountain City 2NE to Colburn Buffalo, WI; Eau Claire, WI; Chippewa, WI; Trempealeau; WI 65 200 0 10
  Moved northeast from northeast of Fountain City to Colburn (Chippewa Co.). This tornado or tornado family struck about a hundred farms. Eight farms were hit in Glencoe Township, northeast of Fountain City. Total damage from this tornado was $1,000,000.
  F4 5/10/1953 1810-1820 CST St. Charles 2NW Olmsted, MN; Winona, MN 18 400 1 11
  This tornado moved northeast and passed about 2 miles northwest of St.Charles (Winona Co.). Farms were torn up all along the track. An infant was killed (Olmsted County) and 4 other people were injured in a car that was thrown 100 feet, about 1.5 miles west of St.Charles. Four more injuries occurred in a barn, and three more in another car. Hundreds of trees were snapped at Whitewater State Park.  Overall this tornado killed one person (Olmsted County) and injured 11 people (6 in Olmsted and 5 in Winona). 
  F4 5/10/1953 1715-1810 CST Chester 5SW to Chatfield 4NE Fillmore, MN; Howard, IA; Olmsted, MN 40 400 1 8
  Eleven farms were heavily damaged in northern Iowa before this tornado crossed into Fillmore County. Twenty barns were damaged or destroyed in Minnesota and one man was killed as his barn was destroyed 1 mile southeast of Wykoff. A rural school was leveled 3 miles south of Chatfield as well. The only death occurred in Olmsted County. Six injuries occurred in Olmsted County and 2 injuries in Howard County.
  F4 4/23/1948 1525 CST Ionia 2WSW to Ionia Chickasaw, IA 8 100 5 25
  A three block long section was devastated at the edge of Ionia. Six homes and a church were leveled and nine other homes were badly damaged. Two of the five deaths occurred in the collapse of the Huffman Implement Store. Damage estimates were $250,000.
  F4 6/22/1944 1900 CST Fennimore to Freeport 10ENE (IL) Grant, WI; Lafayette, WI; Stephenson (IL) 80 800 9 78
  Moved southeast from near Fennimore into northern Illinois. Seven people were killed and 65 were injured in Grant County with $1 million in damage. The people were killed in three homes, all in the Belmont area of Lafayette County. Four people died in town and three in a single farm house southeast of town. About 25 homes and 60 barns were destroyed. Most of the injuries occurred at the south edge of Belmont, as 16 homes were destroyed. In Illinois, 66 farms lost barns and 21 homes were destroyed. One man was killed in a trailer near Winslow (IL), and a woman was killed as her home was leveled 3 miles northeast of Cedarville. Hundreds of livestock were killed in both states. Total damage was estimated at $2 million.
  F4 6/13/1930 1545 CST Austin 5N to Oslo Dodge, MN; Mower, MN 10 800 0 0
  This very large tornado destroyed 6 farms, sweeping away all buildings from three of them, as it crossed parts of Mower and Dodge Counties. The Oslo (Dodge Co.) town hall was destroyed. One rumored death, 1 mile north of Sargent, could not be confirmed. Damage was estimated at $75,000.
  F4 8/20/1928 1610 CST Austin Freeborn, MN; Mower, MN; Winnebago, IA 40 ?? 6 60
  This tornado started in northern Iowa, moved through Freeborn County, and hit the south side of Austin. About $600,000 of the million in total loses was to about 100 homes in Austin (estimated F3 damage). Five of the 6 deaths were in Austin.
  F4 9/21/1924 1430 CST Augusta 2ESE to Chelsea 2N Clark, WI; Eau Claire, WI; Taylor, WI 65 400 18 50
  What was probably a family of tornadoes moved northeast from near Augusta (Eau Claire County) to 10 miles southwest of Thorp (Clark County) to north of Chelsea (Taylor Co.). Near Rib Lake, at least 20 farms were destroyed or altogether obliterated. Thirty other farms were damaged. Fourteen people were killed in Clark County and four in Taylor County. The lack of alignment in the positions of destroyed farms, in the Withee-Thorp-Owen area hint strongly that more than one tornado was involved. Four people died and 13 were injured in that area at a Sunday School meeting in a farm house. One entire wall of a home was reportedly carried for 14 miles. Damage may have been F5 intensity 4 miles south of Thorp and north of Withee near the county border. Damage estimates were $229,000.
  F4 8/7/1924 1830 CST Osseo to Black River Falls Jackson, WI; Trempealeau, WI 28 300 4 20
  This storm tracked southeast from south of Osseo (Trempealeau Co.) to Black River Falls. One person was killed as a home was leveled and a boy was killed running to the storm cellar near the start of the path. Two people died as farm homes were swept away near the northeast edge of Black River Falls. Damage totalled $200,000 as 50 farms were hit and buildings were unroofed in the town of Northfield (F2). The tornado followed the present route of Interstate 94.
  F4 5/21/1918 1815 CST Elkport 4SW to Baraboo Clayton, IA; Grant, WI; Iowa, WI; Richland, WI; Sauk, WI 80 400 8 100
  One of the largest tornadoes during an outbreak of 19 in Iowa, this tornado touched down in Clayton County, Iowa and didn't lift until it hit Sauk County, Wisconsin, some 80 miles east-northeast. After causing extensive damage in Guttenberg, IA, the tornado crossed the Mississippi River 1 mile south of Glen Haven. Farms were lightly damaged in Grant County as the tornado probably lifted and re-formed.
  F4 5/9/1918 1630 CST Pearl Rock 2N to Calmar Chickasaw, IA; Floyd, IA Winneshiek, IA 50 800 7 15
  This tornado touched down in extreme southeast Floyd County, a few miles north of where the four counties meet. The deaths and majority of the damage occurred in Chickasaw and Winneshiek Counties as it moved east-northeast.
  F4 6/12/1915 1720 CST Waterville 2 NW to Soldiers Grove Allamakee, IA; Crawford, WI 30 400 9 50
  Moved northeast from northwest of Waterville crossing the Mississippi River 2 miles south of Ferryville, WI (Crawford Co.). A man and his daughter were killed in one of three homes that were obliterated southwest of "Heytman", a small railroad station on the Mississippi River. Damaged continued in southwest Wisconsin. $200,000
  F4 6/12/1915 1615 CST West Union 3S to Postville 2S Clayton, IA; Fayette, IA 12 100 0 1
  This tornado was watched by hundreds of people in town. One farm was "devastated", the house and barn leveled. Heavy machinery was thrown 300 yards. Clothing was carried two miles. A man was injured in a barn near the end of the path.
  F4 7/3/1907 1700 CST Neillsville 12SW to Elroy 1NE Clark, WI; Jackson, WI; Juneau, WI; Monroe, WI; Sauk, WI 55 800 11 40
  Most likely a family of tornadoes, they tracked south-southeast crossing a total of 5 counties. At least 20 homes were leveled. Three people were killed just outside of Oakdale (Monroe Co.) A hundred people were left homeless in town. Four people died at "Tunnel Siding" north of Elroy. At least four, and possibly six, people were killed north of Tomah.
  F4 7/3/1907 1645 CST Tioga 1N to Neillsville 3E Clark, WI 12 150 1 30
  This was the first event of a very complex outbreak that involved as many as seven tornadoes, with two or three on the ground at the same time. Only this first event, and the last event in Sauk County, were single tornadoes. One man was killed in open area near Tioga as he and his friends ran for cover. Nine were injured. Ten people were injured in another farm house. Parts of some homes were carried for over 4 miles.
  F4 6/6/1906 1745 CST Caledonia 3SW to Coon Valley 10NE Houston, MN; La Crosse, WI; Vernon, WI 33 300 4 26
  Moved east-northeast from 3 miles southwest of Caledonia (Houston), crossing the Mississippi River about 12 miles south of La Crosse, and ending 10 miles northeast of Coon Valley (Vernon Co.). A mother and two children were killed as their farm near Freeburg, MN was leveled. One child was carried about half a mile. Fifteen people were injured in rural Minnesota homes. Fourteen homes were damaged or destroyed in Wisconsin, with 1 death occurring 2 miles east of Stoddard.
  F4 10/3/1903 1600 CST Rome 5E Adams, WI; Portage, WI 22 200 5 40
  This large tornado apparently formed over extreme northern Adams County and then moved east-northeast passing 1.5 miles south of Bancroft in Portage County. The tornado was up to a half mile wide but most of the damage was in Portage County.
  F4 10/3/1903 1350 CST Chatfield 3W to Independence (WI) Buffalo, WI; Olmsted, MN; Trempealeau, WI; Winona, MN 55 300 9 45
  This tornado moved northeast from west of Chatfield, passing through and devastating St.Charles (Winona Co.). Seven people were killed and 30 injured as 50 homes and businesses were damaged or destroyed. Homes were also swept away in Wisconsin, where two people died in Independence (Trempealeau Co.) and half of the town was torn apart. Damage for both states totalled $400,000.
  F4 5/16/1899 2030 CST Greeley to Colesburg Clayton, IA; Delaware, IA 10 200 4 14
  The tornado moved east northeast from 3miles northwest of Greeley, passing northwest of Coleburg.  At least five farms were hit.  The tornado narrowed to only 75 yards near Colesburg and swept away all buildings including homes on three of the farms.  All deaths occurred in Clayton County.  Two people were killed in one family and four others may have died later.  Four men were caught in the one mile from Colesburg and two of them were killed as they looked for shelter.  A tombstone of some kind was reportedly carried for two miles.
  F4 6/10/1897 1855 CST Lyle 5W to Lyle 1N Freeborn, MN; Mower, MN 6 400 1 22
  This tornado moved slowly east northeast from 5 miles west of Lyle to 1 mile north of Lyle.  At least 20 farms that were hit had every building swept away.  Seven farm homes were destroyed.  The only confirmed death was a man in a barn 3 miles west of Lyle.  The family was building a new home and they were eating supper in the barn.  Much of the track was 1 mile north of the Iowa border.  Two other people may have died.  The tornado caused an estimated $30,000 damage.
  F4 9/21/1894 2115 CST Osage 2S to Riceville 6S to Cresco 10WSW Howard, IA; Mitchell, IA 25 ? 5 20
  The tornado moved east northeast from 2 miles south of Osage to 6 miles 6 south of Riceville to about 10 miles west southwest of Cresco.  Five or more homes were destroyed and five people were killed all in or near the community of "Lowther" (5 miles north of Elma) in Mitchell County.
  F4 9/21/1894 2030 CST Mason City (IA) 5NE to Spring Valley (MN) Cerro Gordo, IA; Fillmore, MN; Mitchell, IA; Mower, MN 60 800 16 70
  This tornado moved northeast from 5 miles northeast of Mason City, Iowa killing at least 3 people in northeast Cerro Gordo County.  At least four people died in homes 4 miles northeast of Osage as 13 farm houses wee destroyed in that county.  At Leroy, Minnesota, damage totalled $120,000 as four people were killed and 80 buildings were damaged or destroyed including 35 homes.  Entire farms were leveled southwest of Spring Vally.  Ten homes were destroyed, five people killed and 35 injured in the northwest part of Spring Valley as losses there totalled $60,000.
  F4 7/21/1883 1130 CST Dodge Center 4SE to Douglas Dodge, MN; Olmsted, MN 16 800 4 30
  It moved east northeast from 4 miles southeast of Dodge Center to just south of Kasson and passing 1 mile north of Byron.  The tornado turned to the north and dissipated after passing southeast of Douglas.  About 20 homes, 30 barns, and three schools were damaged or destroyed.  Three people were killed as two of  "the finest homes in the county" were leveled in Dodge County.  A half dozen farms "not a wall left standing."  The damage may have been from two parallel tracks.  This event was either a family of tornadoes on parallel tracks eight miles apart.  Resolving the time and position conflicts is probably not possible.

Last Updated Thursday, January 27, 2011 - Jeff Boyne


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