The Tornado Outbreak: 2011
The spotting of a single tornado elicits warnings, sirens, and a trip to the basement if a person happens to be near and have access to a basement. In 2011, between April 9 and 11, 49 tornadoes touched down in the Midwest, 17 (or one source says 18) in Iowa. Five touched down in Pocahontas County alone. The five were on the ground at the same time on April 9: 9:56, 9:57 p.m. One in the county is said to be the strongest that formed that April day. On April 9, 2011, Pocahontas County residents must have heard the sirens just as they were settling down after dinner and maybe thinking about turning in early.
Spawned by a single super cell thunderstorm, those tornadoes visible in Pocahontas County after dark on April 9 were on a path coming out of Sac County to the southwest. The most powerful in the county, an EF4, had circulating wind speeds between 166 and 200 miles per hour.
This time there were no human injuries, not physical injuries. But homes, fields, and farm equipment were damaged or destroyed taking with them some of the plans and aspirations of county residents.
Sources: on-line: “April 9, 2011 Iowa Tornado Outbreak,” National Weather Service; “Tornado that hit Pocahontas County was EF4,” Globe Gazette, May 3, 2011; “Tornado Outbreak of April 9-11, 2011, Wikipedia.