Below is a summary, map and listing of the tornadoes that occurred across Iowa in 2013. KMZ files for many of the tracks can be downloaded and viewed in Google Earth by clicking on the appropriate icon in the table following the map.

Please note that all information on this page is considered preliminary and may change at any time. Contour lines are often interpolated and may not encompass the full extent of the damage. Surveying procedures and usage of the Damage Assessment Toolkit (DAT) that generates the KML files varies between NWS offices.

2013 Iowa Tornado Summary

The 2013 Iowa severe weather season started out as 2012 had ended, on a quiet note. With unseasonably cold air trapped across the region, news headlines were instead dominated by our extended winter and late season snowstorms well into early May. There were a smattering of severe hailstorms from late March through the first half of May, but no tornadoes during these first two months of Iowa’s climatological “tornado season.” This tornado drought, coupled with the earliest end to Iowa’s tornado season on record in 2012 (May 24), enabled Iowa set a record for the most consecutive days between tornadoes on May 15. The old record was 355 days set between May 5, 1955 and April 26, 1956. Iowa almost made it a full year without tornadoes, but a severe weather outbreak on May 19 solidified the 2012-2013 record at 359 days.

On May 19 a supercell thunderstorm over southwestern Iowa morphed into a squall line to the southwest of Des Moines and produced three brief tornadoes along its leading edge in Dallas and Story counties (radar image on left). These tornadoes were rated either EF1 or EF0 and impacted several homes and farms along their paths. A line of thunderstorms lifting north across eastern Iowa dropped a pair of EF1 tornadoes south and west of the Davenport area on May 30, damaging the towns of Conesville and Buffalo. The following day a rain shower over northeastern Iowa produced a short-lived landspout tornado in Floyd County. Landspouts (also known as “cold-air funnels”) are a special type of tornado that form under weak storms and rarely touch down or produce any damage.

The next severe weather outbreak took place on June 12 across northern Iowa, with one storm producing seven tornadoes over the span of an hour across Wright and Franklin counties. The town of Belmond was grazed by two tornadoes, including a strong EF3 that severely damaged several homes and businesses. These were a unique breed of tornadoes that contained both supercellular and landspout characteristics. Their lifecycle and genesis (no mid-level mesocyclone) resembled that of a landspout, but the strength, longevity, and cyclic nature of the tornadoes is more along the lines of a supercell.

Two tornadoes were recorded in late June, with an EF1 squall line tornado tracking through northern Muscatine and a brief landspout touchdown taking place in Webster County. High pressure built into the region as July set in, putting an end to the summer tornado season. Should the Iowa tornado season have ended there, the state would have set a record for the shortest tornado season (38 days, May 19 to June 26) and the least number of tornadoes in a calendar year (15). However, this was not to be the case...

On October 4, an unseasonably strong area of low pressure lifted northeastward across Nebraska, spawning eleven tornadoes in northwest Iowa during the late afternoon and early evening hours. This included a pair of strong tornadoes rated EF-2 or higher (radar image on left). Tornadoes were reported in Woodbury, Cherokee, Plymouth, Monona, Buena Vista, and Clay counties. This same weather system also produced an EF4 tornado in northeast Nebraska that struck the city of Wayne, and brought record snowfall and blizzard conditions to western South Dakota.

Overall, Iowa saw 28 tornadoes in 2013, well below the 30 year average of 47 tornadoes. About two thirds of Iowa's tornado activity was concentrated on two days: June 12 and October 4. The four EF2+ tornadoes of the season also occurred on these two days.

2013 Iowa Tornado Map

Instructions: The map below provides an overview of tornadoes that have occurred thus far in 2013 in Iowa. Click each icon/track for statistics and a summary of that tornado. For more information about a particular tornado, please select the "View in Map" icon in the following table for that tornado. A new interactive map will open up in place of the overview map that will allow you to view individual damage points and see more photos of the damage. To return to the overview map, click the "Reset Map" button below the map.

EF0 (13)
EF1 (11)
EF2 (2)
EF3 (1)
EF4 (1)
EF5 (0)
2013 Iowa Tornado Listing
Click each date for storm survey or event summaries
Date Time (CDT)


Start Location EF Rating Path Length Injuries Deaths View in Map KMZ File
05/19/2013 6:32pm - 6:35pm Dallas 3.3 mi SW of Adel EF0 2.08 mi 0 0
05/19/2013 6:45pm - 6:48pm Dallas 3.0 mi ESE of Dallas Center EF1 1.43 mi 0 0
05/19/2013 7:07pm - 7:12pm Polk-Story 3.1 mi NW of Alleman EF1 4.71 mi 0 0
05/26/2013 7:23pm - 7:24pm Ringgold 2.2 mi WSW of Diagonal EF0 0.12 mi 0 0
05/29/2013 5:46pm - 5:54pm Clayton-Grant, WI 0.6 mi ESE of Garnavillo EF0 6.38 mi 0 0  N/A N/A
05/30/2013 4:10pm - 4:12pm Muscatine 0.9 mi SSW of Conesville EF1 2.43 mi 0 0
05/30/2013 4:44pm - 4:47pm Rock Island, IL-Scott Andalusia, IL EF1 1.57 mi 0 0
05/31/2013 6:09pm - 6:10pm Floyd 3.0 mi N of Floyd EF0 0.18 mi 0 0  N/A  N/A
06/12/2013 4:08pm - 4:27pm Wright 4.3 mi NW of Belmond EF3 6.20 mi 0 0
06/12/2013 4:19pm - 4:32pm Wright 0.6 mi E of Belmond EF1 5.00 mi 0 0
06/12/2013 4:21pm - 4:24pm Wright 3.0 mi NW of Belmond EF0 1.14 mi 0 0
06/12/2013 4:32pm - 4:44pm Franklin 1.5 mi NNE of Alexander EF2 5.20 mi 0 0
06/12/2013 4:46pm - 4:55pm Franklin 2.5 mi NE of Latimer EF1 3.48 mi 0 0
06/12/2013 4:53pm - 4:56pm Franklin 5.7 mi NW of Hampton EF0 1.28 mi 0 0
06/12/2013 4:56pm - 4:59pm Franklin 2.6 mi NW of Hampton EF0 1.11 mi 0 0
06/24/2013 3:04pm - 3:10pm Muscatine 2.5 mi NW of Muscatine EF1 6.50 mi 0 1
06/26/2013 12:41pm - 12:44pm Webster 1.7 mi NW of Vincent EF0 0.67 mi 0 0
10/04/2013 5:55pm - 6:47pm Thurston, NE-Monona-Woodbury 3.3 mi SW of Macy, NE EF2 26.56 mi 0* 0 N/A
10/04/2013 6:17pm - 6:20pm Woodbury 1.8 mi WSW of Sloan EF1 1.17 mi 0 0
10/04/2013 6:35pm - 7:17pm Woodbury-Cherokee 1.9 mi SW of Climbing Hill EF4 24.70 mi 0 0
10/04/2013 6:35pm - 6:45pm Union, SD- Plymouth 2.1 mi S of Jefferson, SD EF1 6.47 mi 0 0
10/04/2013 6:50pm - 6:52pm Plymouth 2.8 mi SE of Millnerville EF1 1.11 mi 0 0
10/04/2013 6:55pm - 6:56pm Plymouth 1.0 mi ESE of Adaville EF0 1.28 mi 0 0
10/04/2013 7:41pm - 7:43pm Cherokee 4.0 mi N of Quimby EF0 0.55 mi 0 0
10/04/2013 7:46pm - 7:47pm Cherokee 2.9 mi SW of Cherokee EF0 0.40 mi 0 0
10/04/2013 8:18pm - 8:19pm Cherokee 7.2 mi ESE of Larrabee EF0 0.34 mi 0 0
10/04/2013 8:33pm - 8:42pm Buena Vista 0.8 mi ENE of Hanover EF1 5.45 mi 0 0
10/04/2013 8:47pm - 8:48pm Clay 0.8 mi NE of Maclay EF0 0.71 mi 0 0

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