The Student News Site of Waterloo West High School

Wahawk Insider

Wahawk Insider

The Student News Site of Waterloo West High School

Wahawk Insider


What type of content would you like to see from the Wahawk Insider?


Sorry, there was an error loading this poll.

Storm Devastates Greenfield, Iowa and Moves Through Waterloo

An EF-4 Tornado touched down in Greenfield, Iowa.
Graphic by Reagan Westphal

On May 20, 2024, a storm started to brew and build into May 21, many recalling power going out and houses shaking due to the rain and thunder. The storm reached it’s peak on May 21, which just so happened to be Waterloo West High School’s Graduation ceremony.

Throughout the day many were concerned about what the storm would bring. Many Parents called out students for the day or just did not send them to school in general. As graduation rolled around, the University of Northern Iowa parking lot filled worry as the storm started to grow.

Junior Jayna Gomez, a student attending graduation, received a call from her anxious mother telling her she needed to come home because Gomez’s mother was scared of her driving as the storm was approaching. “You shouldn’t even be out of the house right now. There’s tornados heading straight at you. What time does it [graduation] start? Well, it says they are supposed to go through at 7. So good luck,” Gomez’s mother said before graduation started.

While sitting waiting for the graduation to start many could hear the metal from the top of the building moving because of the rain and the wind. The storm had many people at the graduation checking their phones for weather alerts. 

As Gomez checked her phone she went to the KWWL weather app and saw that we were upgraded to a tornado warning. Gomez was not the only person worried. One could hear the chatter of people in the crowd. People were fearful of what kind of damage the storm would do. When the graduation started, the winds seemed to settle down until the speakers went up to give their speeches, then the wind of the storm was once again audible.

As graduation came to a close, there were no tornado touchdowns in Cedar Falls or Waterloo. Families and friends gathered outside and it just looked like it had rained. 

Unfortunately, that was not the case for Greenfield, Iowa. The storm cell that moved through the Cedar Valley produced a devastating tornado just hours earlier in Greenfield. The tornado killed four people and left many people and their homes, cars, and businesses damaged. The tornado that struck down Greenfield was one of the biggest this year. The National Weather Service identified it Thursday as an EF4, the second-most powerful ranking assigned to tornadoes, noting that it was subject to being upgraded after damage was assessed. 

Due to the impact this tornado left on Greenfield, it took authorities more than a day to announce the death toll in Greenfield, Iowa. In addition to the four lives lost, three dozen were injured. Officials said a fifth person was killed elsewhere.

The country has seen an increase in tornados and severe weather recently, leading some to question whether this is an indication of global warming.

Leave a Comment
Donate to Wahawk Insider

Your donation will support the student journalists of Waterloo West High School. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

About the Contributor
Reagan Westphal
Reagan Westphal, Reporter; Yearbook Copy Editor
(she/her) Reagan Westphal is a Junior at West High. This is her second year being part of the yearbook and first year being part of the Wahawk Insider staff as a reporter. Within yearbook, she is the Copy editor and outside of yearbook and Insider she can be found running cross country, on the field playing soccer, wrestling, listening to music, taking pictures, playing guitar, and working as a host at Doughy Joeys.
More to Discover
Donate to Wahawk Insider

Comments (0)

All Wahawk Insider Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *