50 years since devastation hit Charles City

Judy Hughes tells her story of living through Charles City's deadly tornado in ninth grade, 50 years ago, like it was yesterday.

Posted: May. 15, 2018 9:23 AM

CHARLES CITY, Iowa - Judy Hughes tells her story of living through Charles City's deadly tornado in ninth grade, 50 years ago, like it was yesterday.
“I remember the humidity being so great that it was hard to breathe,” Hughes said.
What happened all those years ago still affects her now. When her family rushed to her grandfather's home just north of town where neighborhoods were completely flattened.
“The only thing left standing was the refrigerator, inside the refrigerator was not moved, all food was there. The fish he caught that day he planned on having for supper was still on his plate” Hughes said.
Photos are to be shown for all the public to see at Floyd County's Historical Museum, taken by residents and media then, showing the devastation Mother Nature can bring at any time.
“I'm very respectful of the weather when they, I’m not afraid when they go to the basement I go to the basement. If the sirens go off here I go to the basement and take my radio,” Hughes said.
Hughes says she never heard a siren saying they weren't around then. It wasn't until the 1970's when sirens originally used to warn of nuclear attacks were asked to be used for tornado warnings. The scale we measure tornados with has also drastically changed--we now used the enhanced fujita scale which measures damage versus the old scale measuring wind.
“Respect your weather man, it’s so much easier to go to the basement spend 15 minutes down there and come back up and be fine, just take precautions,” Hughes said.

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