Governor Chet Culver says it appears there hasn’t been a tornado this powerful strike Iowa for 40 years. "We haven’t seen anything like it since 1968 — the Charles City tornado," Culver says. "They’re still evaluating whether this was a level three or level four (tornado), but it is clearly one of the most severe tornadoes that has ever touched down in the history of our state."
Culver says it appears "all steps were taken" to notify residents of the approaching tornado. "I think it’s a blessing that the town of Parkersburg, the city actually installed a siren just 10 days prior to this on the south side of town," Culver says. The death toll could have been a lot higher had the alerts not gone out, according to Culver.
"I think it also is (an) example of why these warning system for all 950 cities and towns in Iowa and I think that we have to make sure we take all the precautionary steps possible to have adequate warning systems in place statewide," Culver says. "We certainly urge city officials to check and make sure they’ve invested in these types of systems."
Culver’s also praising the National Weather Service and local broadcasters for alerting residents that the tornado was bearing down on the area.