Parkersburg tornado an EF-5; major flooding in Central America likely from 90E

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:46 PM GMT on May 28, 2008

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The tornado that devastated Parkersburg, Iowa on Sunday has now been rated an EF-5 by the National Weather Service. An EF-5 is the strongest possible classification a tornado can receive, and is only given to those tornadoes with estimated winds over 200 mph. The winds in the Parkersburg tornado were estimated at 205 mph. At those wind speeds, total destruction of homes occurs. Even those sheltering in basements are not safe--several of the six deaths from the Parkersburg tornado were from people sheltering in basements.

The Parkersburg tornado cut a path 43 miles long and between 3/4 miles and 1.2 miles wide across Iowa, killing six people, completely destroying 350 buildings in Parkersburg, and injuring 70 people. It was only the second EF-5 tornado this decade in the U.S. The other EF-5 occurred in May 2007, when much of Greensburg, Kansas got leveled. The Parkersburg tornado was the first F5 or EF5 tornado in Iowa since the Jordan, Iowa tornado of June 13, 1976, and was the second deadliest in Iowa since official record-keeping began in 1950. Iowa's deadliest tornado hit Charles City on May 15, 1968, killing 13 while producing F5 damage.


Figure 1. EF-5 damage from the May 25, 2008 Parkersburg tornado. At EF-5 winds speeds (over 200mph), homes are completely destroyed or removed from their foundations. Image credit: Iowa Helicopter. The NWS Des Moines office has posted ground damage photos from their damage survey.

Major flooding likely in Central America from 90E
An area of low pressure (90E) in the Eastern Pacific off the coast of Costa Rica, near 10N 88W, is steadily organizing and appears likely to develop into a tropical depression later today or tomorrow. The National Hurricane Center is currently assigning a "High" probability (>50% chance) that this will be a tropical depression, in its new experimental Tropical Weather Outlook. Satellite loops show that the low has developed a very large and expanding circulation. This circulation is likely to expand across Central America into the Western Caribbean, allowing the storm to tap moisture from the Atlantic and Pacific. Storms that are able to tap the moisture sources of both oceans can be extremely dangerous rainmakers, even if they are weak tropical depressions. Already, 90E is generating very heavy rains in excess of six inches per day near its center. The storm is expected to move northeastward over Costa Rica or Nicaragua by Thursday or Friday, and should being dangerous flooding rains of 5-10 inches to those nations and Panama. Most of the computer model guidance suggests that the storm will then track to the north, spreading very heavy rains across Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Belize, and southern Mexico by Saturday. These heavy rains will cause life-threatening flash flooding, particularly in mountainous regions.

Since 90E is beginning to dominate the circulation pattern of the region, it appears unlikely that a tropical depression will form in the Western Caribbean in the coming week, as some computer models have been predicting. It is possible that 90E could cross Central America and pop out in the Western Caribbean near the Yucatan Peninsula, or in the Gulf of Mexico's Bay of Campeche. However, the crossing of Central America will severely disrupt the storm, and the odds of 90E becoming a depression in the Atlantic basin are low.


Figure 2. Observed precipitation for the 24 hours ending at 12Z (8am EDT) Wednesday May 28, 2008. Rainfall amounts in excess of 2000mm (eight inches, yellow colors) occurred near the center of disturbance 90E off the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. Image credit: U.S. Navy Monterey.

I'll have an update Thursday morning.

Jeff Masters

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640. Weather456
8:23 PM AST on May 28, 2008
627. Tazmanian 8:20 PM AST on May 28, 2008
456 so is is the Bermuda High set up to where evere storm runs in to FL this year like 2004???


Not every storm but should the high set up similiar to now, yes, FL but also further north along the east coast, as you notice the flow near the Bahamas is easterly in 2004 but have a more southerly recurvature pattern in 2008. Now add the fact that ridge extends further west in 2008 would put the east coast at a higher risk.
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
639. surfmom
12:26 AM GMT on May 29, 2008
456, you've mentioned a correlation between 04 and this year--I assume this is another example to support your theory - of which I am as well. This isn't science, but the last time my mango tree went off like it is this year was 04. LOL
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638. guygee
12:28 AM GMT on May 29, 2008
SSD Tropical Storm Position and Intensity (Update)
(Users are reminded that the posted SSD position and intensity may differ from official information.)

East Pacific Ocean Basin:
DATE/TIME: 28/2345 UTC
LAT: 10.3N
LON: 86.5W
CLASSIFICATION: T2.0/2.0
STORM: 90E

Previous Update
DATE/TIME: 28/1745 UTC
LAT: 10.0N
LON: 86.3W
CLASSIFICATION: T1.5/1.5
STORM: 90E
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637. Tazmanian
5:27 PM PDT on May 28, 2008
your welcome zoom
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115453
636. Tazmanian
5:25 PM PDT on May 28, 2008
cant we this go one may with out a East Pacific storm???
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635. zoomiami
12:25 AM GMT on May 29, 2008
thanks Taz - I understand the theory though..
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634. Tazmanian
5:24 PM PDT on May 28, 2008
hi zoom am was kinding
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115453
633. zoomiami
12:23 AM GMT on May 29, 2008
Hi Taz: we need water for the grass, not storms this year, thank you anyways. :}
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 10 Comments: 4158
632. nrtiwlnvragn
8:21 PM EDT on May 28, 2008
I would say with these Dvorak numbers, we have a depression.

DATE/TIME LAT LON CLASSIFICATION STORM
28/2345 UTC 10.3N 86.5W T2.0/2.0 90E
Member Since: September 23, 2005 Posts: 15 Comments: 11341
631. hurricane23
8:22 PM EDT on May 28, 2008
The point is 90E's circulation is no match for those mountians.
Member Since: May 14, 2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13841
630. hurricane23
8:20 PM EDT on May 28, 2008
Had not had a chance to read that HPC discussion from earlier today. Interesting stuff.
Member Since: May 14, 2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13841
629. help4u
12:17 AM GMT on May 29, 2008
Post 617,anything is possible.All conspiracy theroies on this site are possible.We are all free thinkers on here.
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628. Drakoen
12:19 AM GMT on May 29, 2008
621. hurricane23 12:18 AM GMT on May 29, 2008
As far as the mid-level low in the caribbean which is clearly inland the next several days it looks like a mid-level ridge will setup across the south and southeast part of the U.S. so any development that does occur in the short term will take it westward until the ridge retrogrades west later as some models indicate.

90E should get hung up on those mountians.Hats of to the UKMET model and i believe the EURO was there.


I would keep my hat on. The UKMET and EURO were so off with track.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30813
627. Tazmanian
5:16 PM PDT on May 28, 2008
456 so is is the Bermuda High set up to where evere storm runs in to FL this year like 2004???




Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115453
626. extreme236
12:18 AM GMT on May 29, 2008
Well Adrian I'm not sure if it will be inland over the next several days as you say since I just read the HPC forecast which differs a bit from that but we will just have to see. 90E should become a TD tonight though. BBL
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624. TampaSpin
8:17 PM EDT on May 28, 2008
The only event in recent times could have been the Christmas day sunami a couple years ago that could have shifted the axis.
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623. Weather456
8:17 PM AST on May 28, 2008
thanks
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622. pearlandaggie
12:17 AM GMT on May 29, 2008
618. major hurricanes stir up colder water from below and form a temporary "cold" wake. this wake often rapidly disappears during the height of the season when solar irradiance is near maximum levels.
Member Since: September 14, 2007 Posts: 3 Comments: 3963
621. hurricane23
8:16 PM EDT on May 28, 2008
As far as the mid-level low in the caribbean which is clearly inland the next several days it looks like a mid-level ridge will setup across the south and southeast part of the U.S. so any development that does occur in the short term will take it westward until the ridge retrogrades west later as some models indicate.

Iam thinking 90E will probably get hung up on those mountians.Hats of to the UKMET model and i believe the EURO was there.
Member Since: May 14, 2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13841
620. pearlandaggie
12:15 AM GMT on May 29, 2008
617. totally bogus! :)
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619. moonlightcowboy
7:14 PM CDT on May 28, 2008
90E's looking better in the VISIBLE LOOP and got a west wobble seemingly.
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618. TampaSpin
8:13 PM EDT on May 28, 2008
611. MichaelSTL 8:11 PM EDT on May 28, 2008

Look at the path of the major canes last year and look at the cooling......looks like some corealation to me......JMO.
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 179 Comments: 20448
617. dcampaudio
12:14 AM GMT on May 29, 2008

Hello:
I recently came across wunderground and have been reading some of the blogs on the site. I received an email from a friend about a website called www.divulgence.net. This site claims that the earth's axis shifted on Dec. 4 and 6 of 2006 and that it threw off the global GPS tracking system as opposed to what authorities later reported as a solar flare being responsible. Is this completely absurd and unfounded or could there be any validity to it? Any insight would be appreciated. Thanks.

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616. moonlightcowboy
7:13 PM CDT on May 28, 2008
609. Nice post, 456.
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615. pearlandaggie
12:12 AM GMT on May 29, 2008
611. agreed. TCHP can even rebound within a few weeks even after the passage of a major hurricane.
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614. extreme236
12:12 AM GMT on May 29, 2008
Climatologically speaking the Gulf of Honduras area is general favorable for development in early June.
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613. WPBHurricane05
8:11 PM EDT on May 28, 2008
According to the EPAC TWO, it looks like we will have TD 1E tonight.
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612. TampaSpin
8:10 PM EDT on May 28, 2008
Fantastic work there 456. VEry well done.
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610. extreme236
12:10 AM GMT on May 29, 2008
Part of the HPC Discussion from earlier today:

ALSO OVER THE EASTERN PACIFIC...A 500 HPA TROUGH EXTENDS ALONG
10N...WITH CLOSED CIRCULATION NEAR 10N 90W. THIS FEATURE ALSO
ENVELOPS MOST OF CENTRAL AMERICA AND THE WESTERN CARIBBEAN. AT
36-48 HRS THE TROUGH WILL START TO DAMPEN...AND BY 60-72 HRS IT IS
TO CONFINE TO SOUTHERN MEXICO-NORTHERN CENTRAL AMERICA. AT LOW
LEVELS IT SUSTAINS A CLOSED CYCLONIC CIRCULATION NEAR 10N 87W. THE
GFS IS NOW FALLING IN LINE WITH THE ECMWF/NAM SOLUTIONS...AS IT
NOW PROJECTS THE LOW TO SLOWLY LIFT TO THE NORTHWEST ALONG THE
COAST OF NICARAGUA TO SOUTH OF EL SALVADOR/GULF OF FONSECA BY
42-48 HRS...MEANWHILE EXTENDING A BROAD TROUGH CENTRAL AMERICA TO
THE WESTERN CARIBBEAN. THE MODELS THEN AGREE ON THIS FEATURE TO
MEANDER JUST SOUTH OF EL SALVADOR/GUATEMALA THROUGH AT LEAST 72-84
HRS. AS THE BROAD TROUGH PATTERN PERSISTS OVER THE WESTERN
CARIBBEAN...THIS MIGHT BE CONDUCIVE TO SECONDARY CYCLONE
DEVELOPMENT BETWEEN GULF OF HONDURAS AND THE YUCATAN CHANNEL.
FAVORABLE MJO CONDITIONS ARE LIKELY TO CONTINUE FAVORING THE
INTENSIFICATION OF THIS SYSTEM.
Member Since: August 2, 2007 Posts: 19 Comments: 19234
609. Weather456
8:01 PM AST on May 28, 2008
Taz,

The B/A High in 2008 is no doubt similiar to no other year than 2004. The ridge was weakess in 2005 and strongest in 2007. Its still too early to tell tho, but interesting obs.

Bermuda/Azores High week ending 24 May 2008

Bermuda High week ending 26 May 2007

Bermuda High week ending 27 May 2006

Bermuda High week ending 28 May 2005

Bermuda High week ending 29 May 2004





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608. pearlandaggie
12:08 AM GMT on May 29, 2008
all models are wrong...some are useful :)
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607. Drakoen
12:05 AM GMT on May 29, 2008
605. hurricane23 12:05 AM GMT on May 29, 2008
Those models seem about right Drak i think a cross-over is douptful as of now.Either way this should be a TD later tonight.


Could you elaborate for me why you think those models are right?
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30813
606. TampaSpin
8:03 PM EDT on May 28, 2008
Drak lets say the Low takes a path about the middle of that post ....it might get far enough away to allow something to develop in the carribean.......just a thought.
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 179 Comments: 20448
605. hurricane23
8:03 PM EDT on May 28, 2008
Those models seem about right Drak i think a cross-over is douptful as of now.Either way this should be a TD later tonight.

Here is another view of the 18z models from CSU.
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604. Tazmanian
5:02 PM PDT on May 28, 2008
ok TampaSpin
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603. Drakoen
12:02 AM GMT on May 29, 2008
What is the GFS smoking? The GFDL plot looks a little west than the position of the low now.
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602. TampaSpin
8:00 PM EDT on May 28, 2008
TAz those big canes that tore into Mexico last year released alot of heat out of the carribean waters.
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601. extreme236
11:58 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
Well I guess even the EATL was warmer in 2005 than now. Definatly no comparison.
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600. Tazmanian
4:58 PM PDT on May 28, 2008
ok 236


thanks STL
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599. TampaSpin
7:59 PM EDT on May 28, 2008
Stormkat that might be a good guess.
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598. stormkat
11:56 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
the azores high is setting up much further north then it was last year and that represents more of a threat to the east coast of the us...stormkat
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597. extreme236
11:57 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
I wish I could tell you where it would set up at Taz but I'm not sure yet.
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595. TampaSpin
7:55 PM EDT on May 28, 2008
I would say the Massive canes that went throught the carribean last year got rid of some heat.
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594. Tazmanian
4:55 PM PDT on May 28, 2008
236 what do you think the set up will be with the big H this year has it set up shop yet???
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115453
593. FLScienceTeacher
11:51 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
Wow .... A lot of posts on what is currently going on in the tropics and technically the season hasn't started yet. I haven't been on since last year and I don't post to often but I do enjoy the discussions and info from this blog... Look forward to an exciting season... hopefully one that doesn’t put too many in a bad way.
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592. extreme236
11:53 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
Well maybe hotter than they were in the EATL than 2005 but the Caribbean is cooler than it was in 2005.
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591. pearlandaggie
11:53 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
YEAH! the pavement is wet with significant rain today for the first time in a long time!

Member Since: September 14, 2007 Posts: 3 Comments: 3963
590. Weather456
7:52 PM AST on May 28, 2008
587. TampaSpin 7:51 PM AST on May 28, 2008
456 your link you posted shows 2 sepaerate lows did it not.


From what I see the one that says, 28/18Z is 90E and the other that says 04/12Z is another low.
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076

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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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