Iowa woman wins $2 million Powerball prize after losing home in tornado

Tammy Gordy and her husband lived in Agency, Iowa, in April 2001 when the Wapello County community was heavily damaged by a deadly EF-2 tornado. Now she says she will finally put the finishing touches on her new dream home.

CLIVE, Iowa Iowa's newest millionaire can finally put the finishing touches on her now-dream home years after it was destroyed in a tornado

Tammy Gordy claimed her $2 million Powerball prize Monday afternoon at Iowa Lottery headquarters in Clive. 

The 56-year-old Ottumwa woman and her husband said they were in the process of building their home when it kind of got put on hold for a few years.

"This is going to speed it up," she told lottery officials. "And it's going to go into better details! I'm talking a walk-in closet and a Jacuzzi tub! That's what I'm talking about!"

The dietary aide at a local hospital said she and her husband, Steve, lived in Agency in April 2001 when the Wapello County community was heavily damaged by a EF-2 tornado. The quick-moving tornado killed two people and injured three others.

"We've never been material people, I can say that," Tammy Gordy said. "Family was more important to us. So, it's going to be that way. We're just going to be able to do more things."


‘There were all those zeroes!’

She realized she'd won big when she used the Iowa Lottery's mobile app Sunday morning to check some lottery tickets she had in her purse. She was flabbergasted seeing one of the results.

"I fell into my chair," she said. "I couldn't see! There were all those zeroes! I was like, 'Maybe I need my glasses.' So yeah, we screamed."

Her easy-pick ticket matched the first five numbers but missed the Powerball to initially win a $1 million prize in the game's Saturday drawing. But she had added the Power Play option to her play, which multiplied her prize.

The winning ticket was the only one in the country to win a $2 million prize that night, lottery officials said.

"I just couldn't comprehend that," Tammy Gordy said.

She bought her winning ticket at a Hy-Vee Fast & Fresh in Ottumwa. Saturday's winning Powerball numbers were: 2-38-44-50-62 and Powerball 19.

Gordy and her husband shared the news with their four adult children and their extended family before claiming their prize and had a hard time getting them to believe the news at first.

"I am a jokester, but not to that extent," she laughed.

More likely to be in a tornado than win the lottery

Powerball lists the odds of matching all six of their numbers at 1 in 292,201,338. 

When comparing the odds to what Earth and Mother Nature can throw our way, the odds aren’t even in the same ballpark. lists the chance of being caught in a deadly tornado as 1 in 5,693,092 per year or 1 in 71,163 during one's lifetime. 

NOAA's Storm Prediction Center reports the U.S. sees on average around 1,100 tornadoes a year, which breaks down to about three tornadoes a day.