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Iowa History Daily: April 11 - Agency Tornado

Iowa History Daily: On April 11, 2001, a deadly tornado ripped through the small town of Agency in Wapello County. 28 twisters touched down in Iowa as a part of a larger storm dropping 79 cyclones in six states in one of the wildest weather days in the state’s history.

A massive F3 tornado touched down in extreme southern Iowa’s Ringgold County and rampaged north and east as far as Madison County. On the ground for more than 60 miles, the twister inflicted $1.5 million in property damage.

As a part of the same tornado outbreak, an F2 tornado ripped through Agency to shake the small town to its core. The tornado ripped through the town of 622 residents, touching down for roughly 30 seconds at 4:02 p.m. The short duration didn’t limit the impact of the storm. Two women from Ottumwa, Mary Ellen Hewitt and Helen Bacon, found themselves volunteering at the local food pantry in Agency when the storm hit. 

Hewitt died at the scene, while Bacon ultimately passed away after first responders airlifted her to a hospital in Des Moines. The storm ripped the roofs from homes, downed power lines, and even hung a camping trailer from the roof of a house. #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar


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