The Hawkeye State is known for many things: The best corn in the world, the legendary butter cow at the Iowa State Fair, and the Field of Dreams, to name a few.

But it's also known for having some of the most powerful and erratic weather in the entire country.

There have been some truly devastating tornadoes that have rolled through Iowa over the years, but one of them is the granddaddy of them all. A storm so formidable, it took out nearly everything that was unlucky enough to be in its path of destruction.

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MORE: Tornado devastates Iowa town, killing multiple people as powerful storms rip through Midwest (5/22/24)

 The Most Powerful Tornado to Ever Hit Iowa: Charles City 1968

The most powerful and deadliest tornado ever to hit the state of Iowa occurred around the Charles City area on May 15, 1968. In fact, it wasn't just one tornado, but a series of storms that absolutely devastated the entire region.

The storm produced two F1 tornadoes, one F2, and two F5 tornadoes, according to the Fujita Scale.

Charles City, Iowa tornado 1968
Charles City, Iowa (Google Maps)

"The first F5 tornado moved through five counties and 65 miles. It affected Charles City just before 5 PM CDT (4:47 PM) destroying much of the area. Damage figures were estimated up to $30 million in Charles City alone while $1.5 million of damage was recorded elsewhere...The second F5 tornado affected Fayette County around 4:57 PM CDT. It damaged or destroyed nearly 1,000 homes," The National Weather Service reports."The hardest hit areas were Oelwein and Maynard where homes were completely swept away from their foundations," 

13 people died in the series of storms with an estimated $30 million in damages.

Where Are You Most Likely to Encounter a Tornado in South Dakota?

The folks at Stacker crunched the numbers to find the top 10 South Dakota counties likely to see tornados.

NOTE: "Since counties can vary in size, they are ranked by the number of tornadoes per 100 square miles." - Stacker

Gallery Credit: Ben Kuhns

The Sunken Iowa Steamboat

Gallery Credit: Andy Gott

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