top of page

Iowa History Daily: April 14 - 1886 Tornado Outbreak

Iowa History Daily: On April 14, 1886, at least nineteen tornadoes ripped through Iowa. A massive F4 tornado touched down near Griswold in Cass County, passed through Audubon and Guthrie counties, and nearly destroyed Coon Rapids prior to dissipating. Another F3 tornado created widespread damage throughout Taylor and Adams counties. Iowans fared okay compared to more northerly portions of the storm which tore up several Minnesota cities, especially Sauk Rapids.

In all, twelve western Iowa counties saw tornadoes during the afternoon and evening as properties saw incredible damage. After five days of cool weather, on average about fourteen degrees below normal, the weather started to turn more mild but rainy. On the fourteenth of April the temperature spiked to eighteen degrees above average, pairing with the increased moisture to create potentially destructive conditions.

Around 3:00 p.m. the largest tornado touched down near Griswold and traveled to the northeast for nearly eighty miles. Covering about twenty-five miles per hour, the storm passed just east of Atlantic at roughly 4:00 p.m. while it diagonally crossed Audubon County.

“The people, having seen the whirling funnel approach from the southwest, sought refuge in their tornado caves, which accounts for the remarkably small number of persons injured,” recorded the Iowa Weather Report for 1886. The report also noted the destruction of many homes and public buildings in the eastern part of Coon Rapids. #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar #IowaOTD


bottom of page