Iowa City Tornado: 5 Years Later

By Mark Geary, Reporter

Residents of the 900 block of Iowa Avenue recover their possessions and clear away debris as they begin the cleanup from a tornado on Friday, April 14, 2006 in Iowa City.

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By Kelli Sutterman

IOWA CITY, Iowa – A tornado carved a path of destruction through downtown Iowa City five years ago, injuring people and damaging buildings. The tornado caused about fifteen million dollars worth of damage.

About thirty people got injured.

As Elizabeth Oyarzun studies on a warm spring day, memories of what happened on this street still haunt her.

“I remember there were trees completely torn from the roots,” Oyarzun said.

Back in 2006, a tornado terrorized Iowa Avenue and destroyed the neighborhood.

“It was devastating and now you look at it and it’s like nothing happened,” Oyarzun said.

Justin Webb was working at a Dairy Queen the night the twister tore off the roof of the business.

“The whole window was grey and I could hear rocks bouncing off of it. So, I screamed like a little girl and ran for the basement. I think my co-worker did, too,” Webb said. “There was no roof at all. Come out of the basement it was so surreal. It was like a dream.”

Before the storm, the shop seemed frozen in time. It had remained virtually unchanged for almost five decades. Now, everything’s upgraded.

“The counters are now six inches farther apart now than they used to be,” Webb said.

But, other things might be harder to change.

“I think it’d be really fun if we called our blizzards tornadoes,” Webb said.

While it may have seemed hard to imagine in 2006, Iowa City has recovered. Few, if any, signs point to what happened here five years ago.

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