It was 50 years ago Today, June 13th, 1968, a large tornado ripp - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

It was 50 years ago Today, June 13th, 1968, a large tornado ripped through the heart of the Iowa Great Lakes

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ARNOLDS PARK (KUOO) -

Wednesday marks a very somber anniversary for the Iowa Great Lakes and most of Dickinson county. It was 50 years ago today, June 13th, 1968 a large tornado devastated the area.

Especially hard hit was Arnolds Park and the amusement park. The tornado destroyed the upper level of the Roof Garden and heavily damaged or destroyed a number of rides in the amusement park. Some neighboring resorts were also completely destroyed or heavily damaged.

Officials say it was a miracle no one was killed.

Dickinson County Emergency Management Coordinator Mike Ehret says not only did we learn a lot from that tragedy, but technology has increased ten-fold since then, increasing our readiness if the worse should ever happen again.  

"I will say that for them to get the advance warning they did 50 years ago was fantastic. That usually didn't happen back then. It goes to show the plans they had in place, the spotters they had out, and just the systems overall that were working 50 years ago in our county. Obviously, technology has just gone so much further with radar and even better advance warning from the Weather Service and just things like that, so."

A number of farms, especially in western Dickinson County and portions of Osceola County, were also either destroyed or heavily damaged. All total, damage in Dickinson county alone from the 1968 tornado was estimated at $8 million, which in today's standards would equate to about $58 million.

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