Killer tornadoes smash Iowa and Minnesota

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:09 AM GMT on May 26, 2008

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An exceptional tornado outbreak continues to hammer the U.S. tonight, in what has been an extraordinary year for tornadoes. A mile-wide tornado plowed through Parkersburg, Iowa this afternoon, killing at least five people and injuring 15, according to KCRG. The tornado passed just north of the airport in Waterloo, Iowa, which recorded sustained winds of 64mph, gusting to 94 mph at 5:37pm CDT. Damage appeared to be at least EF-4 in photos I saw, and possibly EF-5 (over 200 mph). In Minnesota, another powerful twister killed at least one person and injured 9 in the Minneapolis suburb of Hugo this afternoon.


Figure 1. Satellite image of the supercell thunderstorms that spawned the Parkerburg, Iowa and Hugo, Minnesota tornadoes on May 25, 2008.

A slow-moving low pressure system that began in Colorado on Thursday spawned 48 reports of tornadoes Thursday, including the EF-3 mile-wide twister that killed one person in Windsor, Colorado. On Friday, an additional 63 tornado reports occurred, mostly in Kansas. The tornado that hit Quinter, Kansas on Friday was the eighth violent EF-4 tornado of the year. The last year that had more violent tornadoes was 1999, when 13 such twisters were recorded. Two people were killed in Cairo, Kansas when a tornado smashed a car trying to flee the storm. If you want to see why one should not try to escape a tornado in a car, take a look at what the tornado did to the car. Saturday was relatively quiet, with only 13 tornado reports, but Sunday's tally (so far) of 37 has brought the 4-day total to a remarkable 150+ tornado reports. Some of these tornado reports are undoubtedly of the same tornado, so the actual number of tornadoes for the 4-day outbreak may be less than 150.



Figure 2. Radar reflectivity image (top) of the May 25, 2008 Parkersburg, Iowa tornado. The position of Parkersburg is marked by a circle with a cross in the middle. Bottom: Doppler velocity image of the tornado, showing a small core of red and blue colors right next to each other, denoting strong winds towards and away from the radar, the classic signature of a tornado vortex.



Figure 3. Radar reflectivity image (top) of the May 25, 2008 Hugo, Minnesota tornado. The position of Hugo is marked by a circle with a cross in the middle. Bottom: Doppler velocity image of the tornado, showing a small core of red and blue colors right next to each other, denoting strong winds towards and away from the radar, the classic signature of a tornado vortex.

Severe weather forecast
Severe weather will pound the U.S. again Memorial Day, with the main action expected to stretch more than halfway across the country--from Colorado to New York. NOAA's Storm Prediction Center has placed central Kansas under its "Moderate Risk" category for severe weather, one step below its highest level of concern, "High Risk". Yesterday was also a "Moderate Risk" day in Iowa and Minnesota. The Weather Underground Severe Weather page and Tornado page are good places to go to follow the severe weather. Also, tune in to the chase accounts and awesome storm photos from Wunderblogger Mike Theiss.

I'll have an update Monday morning, including a look at the tropics, where the computers models persist in predicting a tropical storm may form in the Western Caribbean or Eastern Pacific late this week.

Jeff Masters

Tornado (MikeTheiss)
A large and violent tornado near Quinter, Kansas. Photo Copyright Mike Theiss
Tornado
Large Tornado near Quinter, Kansas (MikeTheiss)
Photo of a large tornado near Quinter, Kansas on May 23rd, 2008.
Large Tornado near Quinter, Kansas

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197. Stormchaser2007
1:50 AM EDT on May 26, 2008
Yeah Im gone too good night Drak,JFV,Scott,Mich,MLC,lopaka,and Kris!! See yall tomorrow!!
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196. lopaka001
1:51 AM EDT on May 26, 2008
Peeks his head in the room and whispers..
Can't we all get along!

...walks slowly out of the room and grabs a ice cold Singha beer!
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195. Michfan
12:50 AM CDT on May 26, 2008
Im out too. Baby is asleep so i must take advantage of it.
Member Since: September 7, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1747
194. Michfan
12:46 AM CDT on May 26, 2008
Well that far out i don't think its that much of a difference. The general direction up till then is well with reason for both of them.
Member Since: September 7, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1747
193. moonlightcowboy
12:48 AM CDT on May 26, 2008
Have a good sleep JFV, Drak, ALL! I'm out, too!
Member Since: July 9, 2006 Posts: 184 Comments: 29610
192. scottsvb
5:48 AM GMT on May 26, 2008
I replied back storm!
Member Since: January 22, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1723
191. weatherboykris
5:47 AM GMT on May 26, 2008
Same here Drak. 00z NOGAPS seems to be running slow.
Member Since: December 9, 2006 Posts: 125 Comments: 11346
190. Stormchaser2007
1:47 AM EDT on May 26, 2008


Down-burst located where my cousin is located...
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189. Drakoen
5:47 AM GMT on May 26, 2008
Anyways i'm logging of. See you guys later.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30832
187. Drakoen
5:41 AM GMT on May 26, 2008
184. Michfan 5:41 AM GMT on May 26, 2008
I meant up to the 144 mark. After that they do diverge. I need to be more clear next time.


That too is off. The GFS has the system around Belize and the CMC has the system a the tip of the Yucatan.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30832
186. scottsvb
5:41 AM GMT on May 26, 2008
I'm seeing a possibility of alot higher cat 3s than what I forcasted and what the NHC forcasted but Ill keep it at 4.
Member Since: January 22, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1723
185. Stormchaser2007
1:41 AM EDT on May 26, 2008
Scotts did you get my message?
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184. Michfan
12:40 AM CDT on May 26, 2008
I meant up to the 144 mark. After that they do diverge. I need to be more clear next time.
Member Since: September 7, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1747
183. Stormchaser2007
1:39 AM EDT on May 26, 2008
Yeah we have to wait and see how the season plays out....patience is key.
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182. Drakoen
5:38 AM GMT on May 26, 2008
180. Michfan 5:38 AM GMT on May 26, 2008
Two models in agreement so far.


I don't think so. That CMC has the low pressure system over the CONUS further west than the GFS and a stronger extended ridge out in the Atlantic.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30832
181. scottsvb
5:39 AM GMT on May 26, 2008
Storm I said 15/7/4 so our prediction looks pretty close!
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180. Michfan
12:37 AM CDT on May 26, 2008
Two models in agreement so far.
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179. Stormchaser2007
1:33 AM EDT on May 26, 2008
Oh God Tampa not again....

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178. scottsvb
5:34 AM GMT on May 26, 2008
The CMC also takes that turn west late in the period!
Member Since: January 22, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1723
177. Drakoen
5:34 AM GMT on May 26, 2008
176. moonlightcowboy 5:33 AM GMT on May 26, 2008
LOL, Drakoen - I think I ask the "best" questions! One's never knows it all, and I learn ALL THE TIME!


lol.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30832
176. moonlightcowboy
12:32 AM CDT on May 26, 2008
LOL, Drakoen - I think I ask the "best" questions! One never knows it all, and I learn ALL THE TIME!
Member Since: July 9, 2006 Posts: 184 Comments: 29610
175. Stormchaser2007
1:31 AM EDT on May 26, 2008
K then well that was....uhhh unnecessary.
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174. TampaSpin
1:28 AM EDT on May 26, 2008
Look out the CMC is back.....lol
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173. scottsvb
5:28 AM GMT on May 26, 2008
goo buckeyes!!
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172. Drakoen
5:27 AM GMT on May 26, 2008
LOL MLC, you know you are the best right?
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30832
171. Michfan
12:27 AM CDT on May 26, 2008
Then let it be Scott.

120 hr NOGAPS seems to be taking this thing across Cuba.
Member Since: September 7, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1747
170. scottsvb
5:25 AM GMT on May 26, 2008
All I asked was if he was a Met and where he graduated from and if hes not its all good!
Member Since: January 22, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1723
169. Michfan
12:23 AM CDT on May 26, 2008
Lighten up folks. None of us here really give a damn who is or isn't a met. Its a blog, not the NWS.
Member Since: September 7, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1747
168. weather24
5:22 AM GMT on May 26, 2008
Hey scottsvb drakone is pretty good when it comes down to what he thinks is going on by the way I am meteorologist
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167. moonlightcowboy
12:21 AM CDT on May 26, 2008
Photobucket

...good grief, it's a "freakin'" blog - that's all! If "anyone" totally takes this, or "weather" itself to be so exact and so serious, then some are mis-jointed in the brain. It's a blog - plain, simple. There will be no pop quiz! People with no knowledge get can stuff right. Folks with the all the smarts can get stuff wrong - it's weather, it's a blog - get over yourselves! It's a B L O G!
Member Since: July 9, 2006 Posts: 184 Comments: 29610
166. FloridaWeatherLady
1:20 AM EDT on May 26, 2008
What a terrible severe weather season it's been! I wonder too if we'll see a Tropical Storm here. Florida could use more of rain, and that's a great way to get it!
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165. Stormchaser2007
1:19 AM EDT on May 26, 2008
Not referring to anyone in particular but you guys have to sop taking things so seriously on here. For Hevans sakes its a public weather blog!! So just everyone lighten up and have some tolerance.
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163. Stormchaser2007
1:14 AM EDT on May 26, 2008
Wow I step into the blog and yet another fight is going on.....needless to say things are not going that well and I suggest you all should just stop being so nosy and defensive. (IN GENERAL).
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162. weatherboykris
5:16 AM GMT on May 26, 2008
The 00z GFS is out, the NOGAPS is coming out now.
Member Since: December 9, 2006 Posts: 125 Comments: 11346
161. Drakoen
5:16 AM GMT on May 26, 2008
I have a new edition to my ignore list as well.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30832
160. juniormeteorologist
5:14 AM GMT on May 26, 2008
no, i didn't just got a little confused. Is the NOGAPPS and the GFS Models run at 0z out yet?
159. scottsvb
5:12 AM GMT on May 26, 2008
I have a degree in Meteorology..worked NWS in ruskin fl (tampa) awhile back. Graduated in 93 Meteorology degree in Atmospheric Science from FSU.

Its all good on what people ask on these sites.
Member Since: January 22, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1723
158. Drakoen
5:14 AM GMT on May 26, 2008
I need to stop before I get myself banned for the 2nd time. And if I may say: sullivanweather, is an excellent forecaster that puts alot of detail into his northeast blog and has gained enough respect to be a feature weather blogger on here, and his is not a degreed meteorologist.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30832
157. weatherboykris
5:14 AM GMT on May 26, 2008
NOGAPS is out through 108 hours. Looks pretty interesting.
Member Since: December 9, 2006 Posts: 125 Comments: 11346
156. weatherboykris
5:14 AM GMT on May 26, 2008
153. juniormeteorologist 5:13 AM GMT on May 26, 2008
weatherboykris, r u talking to me?


No, did you say something to me?

Member Since: December 9, 2006 Posts: 125 Comments: 11346
154. weatherboykris
5:13 AM GMT on May 26, 2008
Welcome to my ignore list scott. From this point on, I will not be able to see what you are saying.
Member Since: December 9, 2006 Posts: 125 Comments: 11346
153. juniormeteorologist
5:12 AM GMT on May 26, 2008
weatherboykris, r u talking to me?
152. weatherboykris
5:12 AM GMT on May 26, 2008
148. scottsvb 5:11 AM GMT on May 26, 2008
Trust isnt a good word. The public shoudlnt trust anyone that isnt a Meteorologist.


Well then don't.

Member Since: December 9, 2006 Posts: 125 Comments: 11346
150. Drakoen
5:12 AM GMT on May 26, 2008
144. scottsvb 5:10 AM GMT on May 26, 2008
Ok if your not a Met then its all good... Its ok and no Im not baiting him. Eighter he is or isnt and people are just asking his opinion cause hes on here alot watching things and learning models and stuff. Its all good.


I don't need to learn how to read models. I already know how to do so. I'm on here alot because this is the only weather community that I share my thoughts on.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30832
149. weatherboykris
5:12 AM GMT on May 26, 2008
Ok then scott. Wasn't trying to start anything. This time of year we get some real trolls and it's hard to tell genuine questions from new guys apart from bait questions just meant to cause trouble. No worries.
Member Since: December 9, 2006 Posts: 125 Comments: 11346
147. weatherboykris
5:10 AM GMT on May 26, 2008
New NOGAPS is looking pretty similar to the old one through 96 hours...
Member Since: December 9, 2006 Posts: 125 Comments: 11346

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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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