Tornado Season Becoming Less Predictable Due to Climate Change

May 14, 2015

Lake City is quickly recovering from an EF1 tornado that touched down Sunday night, tearing the roof off the community’s high school. Mayor Gary Fahan says around 25 percent of homes in the town are damaged, but clean-up is well underway.

"The streets are clear. Ninety-five percent of the lawns are clear. I mean the volunteers went out and were actually raking yards for people.  You can’t believe how the town looks compared to what it looked like that night. The only thing we’ve got left are tree stumps that are about 10-15 feet tall that they’re going to have to remove," he says. 

The city is currently awaiting a final figure on the economic impact of the storm.

The last few weeks of classes in Lake City are being held in churches and city buildings. Graduation ceremonies have been moved to Rockwell City, which is consolidated with Lake City to form South Central Calhoun High School.  

During this River to River interview, host Ben Kieffer talks with Fahan and Rusty Farrington, who was in the high school on Sunday when the tornado tore the roof off the building. 

Iowa State University atmospheric scientist Bill Gallus also joins the conversation. He says that due to climate change, it's getting harder to predict the severity of tornado season in the Midwest. 

Then, Ben Kieffer talks with Angi McKie, who works with the ConsiderIowa program at the University of Iowa; Danny Laudick, who works with the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance and Chamber, and Danielle Ferguson, who worked on a new investigation for about the state's brain drain problem.