Tornado Damage in Jackson County - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Tornado Damage in Jackson County

MAQUOKETA (KWWL) -- Sunday afternoon, the National Weather Service confirmed the Saturday evening touchdown of a tornado in Maquoketa.

The NWS gave the tornado an EF1 rating on the Enhanced Fujita scale, with wind speeds up to 105 mph. It damaged property on the north side of Maquoketa.  Trained spotters had said around 7:30 p.m. Saturday that they saw a tornado on the ground in Jackson County.

The NWS report estimates the tornado's maximum width reached 150 yards, and its path spanned more than two miles. The report says the tornado uprooted and snapped several trees, damaged several houses and mobile homes, tore the porch off a farmhouse and destroyed the sign at an elementary school, among other things. See the complete report - and map of the Maquoketa tornado's path - here.

Cardinal Elementary School's brick sign toppled to the ground, and a large tree in its front yard fell over.

The school's next-door neighbor Patty Allen said she attended the school as a kid and was surprised by all the damage along her street. She came home Saturday evening, after visiting family on the south side of Maquoketa, to find her yard in shambles.

"I was upset when I came home, because I take pride in what my yard looks like, and it was just everywhere," Allen said. "I had broken flower pots and everything was tipped over - not in place like I like it, trees everywhere."

The storm damaged several mobile homes on the northern side of Maquoketa.  Two of the homes in one mobile home park were shifted off their foundations. According to park operator/manager Kenny Moore, they happened to be the only two units in the park that were vacant at the time, due to renovation.

Residents on the scene told KWWL that sirens did not go off before the storm hit. They said the tornado came suddenly out of what was just a strong rain storm, so they were caught off-guard. One resident said not a single person made it to the mobile home park's storm cellar, since the tornado hit without warning.

The tornado sheered off the tops of trees in the park at about 30 feet. Tree limbs fell through roofs and windows, damaging vehicles and structures.

Emergency crews coordinated an effort to keep mobile home park residents out of the unstable structures, but let them back in - unit by unit - to retrieve their medicine and pets. Emergency workers told residents to take with them only what they needed for the night.

Before leaving the scene around 11 p.m., police unwound yellow tape across the park entrance, to make it clear the site was off-limits at least until the damage could be assessed.

The tornado left no reports of serious injuries.

The rest of the Maquoketa looks completely untouched. KWWL spoke with an employee at the McDonald's on West Platt Street, who said the restaurant was temporarily shut down Saturday evening, but no apparent damage happened in that area.

The NWS confirmed another tornado touched down in Clinton County, just less than three miles north-northeast of Goose Lake. The tornado, with a rating of EF0, left none injured.

See the National Weather Service report on Saturday night's damage from both tornadoes.

Online Reporter Becca Habegger

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