Interactive: Watch the path of tornadoes through Marshalltown and Pella

On July 19, 2018 multiple tornadoes struck central Iowa, causing damage to historic buildings, homes, and businesses.

The National Weather Service has completed their survey of the tornadoes path.

Browse below an interactive experience from The Gazette that animates the path of three of the most powerful tornadoes recorded that day.



This tornado developed northwest of Marshalltown near the little hamlet of Marietta. The tornado traveled southeast on the western side of the Iowa River producing extensive crop and tree damage.

The tornado strengthened quickly and took on a wedge appearance as it entered northwest Marshalltown. The tornado tracked more easterly as it entered town producing widespread EF-1 and EF-2 damage.

The tornado went straight through the business district of downtown with EF-2 and EF-3 damage to many structures including the county courthouse which lost the spire off the clock tower. The tornado continued east through housing areas before encountering the Lenox plant on the east side of town, producing EF-3 damage once again. The tornado began to weaken rapidly after this point and dissipated east of the power plant.




Tornado developed about 3 miles north of Pella and moved southeast for its entire length.

The tornado initially remained in rural areas just north and northeast of the town producing crop, tree and minor structural damage to houses. The tornado began to intensify just northeast of town and shifted a house off its foundation.

The tornado then encountered the Vermeer facility on the east side of town producing EF-3 damage to one of the large buildings along with numerous cars tossed about the facility. The tornado then crossed Highway 163 and moved through rural locations southeast of Pella for the remainder of its path.


Map by John McGlothlen / The Gazette