Wednesday, May 25, 2011


 The recent tornados brought back memories of the one that hit Ankeny, IA on March 13, 1990  destroying 20 homes and damaged another 16 including our Condominium . This was during the time that I was serving as Executive Vice-President of the International Soil and Water Conservation Society headquartered there. We kept our house in Seward and drove back frequently for family reasons. Elaine stayed in Seward to be with a Granddaughter who had tubes put in her ears the weekend prior to the tornado so I was alone. The Maple Wood Condominiums included several 3-story buildings next to I-25 on the east edge of Ankeny. Ours was on the 3rd floor in the southeast building of the development. We had 4 inches of rain the night before and by sunset it was obvious that we were in for another storm. While we had warnings, there were none specific to our area. Our electricity went off so I lit a candle on the kitchen table and stepped out on the balcony. The first thing I noticed was the pair of Swan that lived on the small pond in the development went sailing by at the 3rd floor level. Normally we could hear a constant roar from traffic on the interstate highway but the roar as the swans went by was 10-times greater. Suspecting something was about to hit, I went back inside, blew out the candle and I heard our bedroom windows being blown in and the ceiling in the hallway falling down. It was over in a matter of seconds and when I opened our door to the central hallway, it was blocked with about 2-feet of insulation and ceiling material.  I got on down where residents had congregated and determined that no one in the building had been injured. The top-floor unit to the east end our building was destroyed with the young couple having taken refuge in their bath tub. Considerable damage was done to the whole eastern end of the building. There were injuries on I-25 when motorist ran into debris and auto accidents occurred. I called Elaine 3 times during the course of the evening since they too were in a tornado warning area. Insurance restored all of our damage including new windows, carpet, etc.  I didn’t report that I found a thorn from a locust tree in one of my shoes that had been in the closet with the ventilating doors closed.


  1. The storm was so close that it took the "e" out of Tornados.

  2. Or did it take it out of Tornadoes??