Devastating Iowa Tornado Kills Seven People

Samantha Fowler

Tornadoes ripped through Iowa, killing at least seven people and damaging countless homes on Saturday, March 5th. Seven deaths were confirmed, all in counties near Des Moines, Iowa. 


The series of tornadoes that struck Iowa were some of the worst since May of 2008. Information from the National Weather Service claims, “The largest tornado moved across Madison, Warren, Polk, and Jasper counties for nearly 70 miles and at its peak produced winds of nearly 170 mph.” They also stated that this tornado is the 2nd largest tornado path since 1984, where that tornado had a path of 117 miles. 


According to Diogenes Ayala, director of Madison County Emergency Management Agency, “The adults who died ranged from age 37 to 72, and the children were two and five.” claims that when these victims died, they were visiting their grandparents who did not have a basement. The victims include; 63-year-old grandmother Melissa Bazley, two-year-old Owen Bolger, five-year-old Kinlee Bolger, and 37-year-old father Micheal Bolger. 


There were only four survivors; the grandfather, an eight-year-old boy, children’s mother, and the uncle, who all had extensive injuries. There is a GoFundMe page created for the medical bills which Kayla Nutt states, “In that disaster, Mike, Kinlee, and Owen lost their lives. Kuri is currently still in the hospital with severe injuries but stable and Brysen has been discharged from the hospital with minor injuries.” 


The two other victims lived just down the street from Bazley, Cecilla Lloyd, 72, and Rodney Clark, 64. The seventh death came from Lucas County, Iowa, which is approximately 54 miles away from where the previous six victims died. Information from concludes that the final victim, Jesse Fisher, 40, died in her RV when the storm struck at Red Haw State Park. 


On the Enhanced Fujita tornado scale, the tornado reached an EF-4 on a scale of EF0-EF5. According to, “Enhanced Fujita Scale (or EF Scale) of tornado damage intensity. The F Scale was developed based on damage intensity and not wind speed; wind speed ranges given are estimated, based on the extent of observed damage.” Using the information given on the website, the EF4 tornadoes are violent, and winds are anywhere between 166mph to 200 mph. The website also states, “Devastating Damage. Well constructed houses leveled; structures with weak foundations blown some distance; cars blown; large missiles generated.” 


Hundreds of volunteers helped out with the storm clean-up on that Sunday, and efforts to help clean the damage will continue. The storm on Saturday caused at least $1 billion in damage.