Family looks back on devastating tornado 11 years later - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Family looks back on devastating tornado 11 years later

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An F2 tornado ripped through Iowa City on April 13, 2006, destroying several homes in it's path.

Peter Jochimsen and his wife, Grace, live at the end of the 900 block of Iowa Avenue. An area of the city that took one of the hardest hits.

Many of the homes were destroyed by the F2 tornado with wind reaching 150 mph.

Jochimsen and his wife were listening to the radio for weather reports saying you could hear the roaring coming.

"I was at the back door trying to close the screen door and my wife Grace and and my son Peter were yelling to get into the basement," he said.

In the the estimated two minutes that they were in the basement, significant damage was done to their home. He says it was numbing to come back upstairs.

"It was like a ghost town. Quite amazing. I remember we have a creek here that comes up. There was a car that was picked up and dumped in the creek. You just couldn't believe the strength of such a phenomenon," Jochimsen said.

Their home had a hole in it's roof, a roof they had only replaced a few years ago, and 17 of their trees were uprooted. The list of other damages to home would appear to be never ending.

He says the time that followed was what was truly amazing, a community that came together to help pick up the pieces.

"I'm getting emotional. The thing that really got to me was when the Salvation Army came and offered me water. It's something you don't want to live through," he said, tears swelling in his eyes while recalling that time.

Like all of the homes on the 900 block of Iowa Avenue, except for one apartment building, they were able to fix them back up. The damages cost the Jochimsen family upwards of $80,000, even though you wouldn't be able to tell today what it endured.

"Doesn't take long for destruction. Takes much longer to put together," he said.

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