Sunday’s tornado, that has claimed seven lives and destroyed 350 homes, is being called the strongest tornado to hit the state in 32 years.
The National Weather Service categorizes tornadoes on an Enhanced Fujita – or EF – scale.
An EF0 twister is the weakest while an EF5 packs winds of more than 200 miles per hour. The tornado that hit northeast Iowa Sunday is being called a "low-grade" EF5. The last time a tornado of that magnitude hit the state was on June 13, 1976 in Boone and Story Counties. This is only the 6th EF5 ever in Iowa history.
Several state agencies and other organizations are working to help victims of Sunday’s tornado. Jennifer Pickar is a spokesperson for the Hawkeye Chapter of the American Red Cross in Waterloo. "We have four emergency response vehicles from around Iowa that are helping get supplies out to the people who need them. We’re doing a lot of mobile feeding…getting food and water to the people and emergency workers that are out," Pickar said.
The towns of Parkersburg and New Hartfood were hit the hardest. A middle school building in Aplington has been serving as a temporary shelter for people that lost their homes. Pickar says 40 people stayed there Sunday night. Other temporary shelters set up in Dunkerton and Hazelton have been shut down.
"A lot of people are helping out their neighbors and taking them in," Pickar said. "Friends and family are really pulling together and coming through for people who have lost their homes." Pickar says a lot of Iowans are asking about how they can help the tornado victims. The Red Cross is accepting financial donations.
Pickar says Iowans can donate by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS or do so online at www.redcross.org . Donors can also call the Hawkeye Chapter at 319-234-6831. Like the Red Cross, the Salvation Army is accepting financial donations to help the tornado victims. Donors can contribute by phone at 1-800-SAL-ARMY or at the Salvation Army website . .