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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590. Cavin Rawlins
11:54 PM GMT 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
589. Tazmanian
11:53 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
456,23,236 look at my post Please tell me what you think about this it sure looks like sea temps are hoter then they where in 2005 huh???




but do we have the same set up has 2005??? with the big H and evere thing ???
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115456
588. TampaSpin
11:52 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 179 Comments: 20448
587. TampaSpin
11:51 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
456 your link you posted shows 2 sepaerate lows did it not.
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 179 Comments: 20448
586. pearlandaggie
11:49 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
Member Since: September 14, 2007 Posts: 3 Comments: 3963
585. moonlightcowboy
11:49 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
The "twins" such as they were have all but had it now. The Carib swirl is over land and is being absorbed by 90E which looks to a landfall, too, but could make a slight movement seaward; nonetheless, running into land but a bit further north. After that, rotation's likely disrupted and hopefully what we'll see is the system drift northwards eventually towards the seCONUS and dump some much needed rain.

This go 'round there'll be no Arthur, and quite possibly no Alma either, imh and could be very wrong o! lol
Member Since: July 9, 2006 Posts: 184 Comments: 29610
584. stormkat
11:49 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
like i said cane i respect your opinion but you know i have nothing to do with computer models my forecasts come from the eyes what i see and what i have learned...no disrespect cane we will see who is right and who isnt ..im forecasting 40 knots of shear over the caribbean in the next 48 hours...a trough will develop over the area and cause anything to be ripped apart that tries to form...cane i wish i could agree with you but i cant sorry...but i do respect your opinion and i do agree with adrian...stormkat
Member Since: May 9, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 335
583. Tazmanian
11:48 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
look at this sea temps looks march hoter then they where in 2005




but do we have the same set up has 2005??? with the big H and evere thing ???
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115456
582. Cavin Rawlins
11:48 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
Extreme...

appears so...

LINK
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581. pearlandaggie
11:48 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
Member Since: September 14, 2007 Posts: 3 Comments: 3963
580. GeoffreyWPB
11:48 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
10-day West Palm forecast..no heavy rains or winds like forecasted two days ago.
Member Since: September 10, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 11557
579. extreme236
11:48 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
all4 here you are:

Member Since: August 2, 2007 Posts: 19 Comments: 19234
578. TexasGulf
11:48 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
If 90E follows the middle path of the computer models, it will move east over Costa Rica and then loop back to the west passing over southern Mexico.

The consensus of the models, if there is one, is that 90E will live out it's existence as a no-name mountain rain maker.

I'll be drinking a particularly good cup of coffee years from now, never knowing that the good quality was due to the rains from 90E.
Member Since: April 28, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 354
577. nrtiwlnvragn
11:47 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
560. MichaelSTL

I'm not sure how accurate that blog counter is. I looked at it the other day with a managable number of posts (<50) and while all posts showed on the blog, the counter was in the mid 45s. Maybe it counts the posts Dr. M doesn't have on ignore.
Member Since: September 23, 2005 Posts: 15 Comments: 11346
576. extreme236
11:47 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
573.

LOL maybe
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575. all4hurricanes
11:47 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
Can some body post a map of weakening/strengthening wind shear, those are very helpful
Member Since: March 29, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2377
574. FLWeatherFreak91
11:46 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
TROPICAL WAVE LIES ACROSS PANAMA AND THE WESTERN CARIBBEAN ALONG
81W S OF 19N MOVING W 15 KT. THE WAVE IS NOW INTERACTING WITH
THE LARGE AREA OF LOW PRES EXTENDING FROM THE FAR EASTERN
PACIFIC NE ACROSS COSTA RICA AND NICARAGUA...MAKING IT DIFFICULT
TO ISOLATE A WELL-DEFINED AXIS. HOWEVER...THE WAVE'S INFLUENCE
HAS BEGUN TO DRAW ABUNDANT MOISTURE/SCATTERED SHOWERS AND TSTMS
NWD FROM COLOMBIA ACROSS THE W/CENTRAL CARIBBEAN...AND BEGINNING
TO OVERSPREAD HISPANIOLA AND JAMAICA. SCATTERED MODERATE
CONVECTION S OF 19N BETWEEN 70W-85W.


Member Since: December 1, 2006 Posts: 2 Comments: 3634
573. pearlandaggie
11:46 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
565. maybe he read the 54 m/s purple instead of the 6 m/s! afterall, they're the same shade of purple... ;)
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572. hurricane23
11:45 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
No cross-over here i just dont see it as of this time.
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571. Cavin Rawlins
11:45 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
JUSTCOASTING, good evening
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570. Drakoen
11:44 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
Microwave imagery suggests that good low level banding is to the south and east of the circulation center.

Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30833
569. extreme236
11:44 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
Wow whatever is about to come off Africa looks impressive...is that what the GFS wants to develop?
Member Since: August 2, 2007 Posts: 19 Comments: 19234
568. FLWeatherFreak91
11:44 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
Well, whatever happens it does appear that Fl will receive its much-needed rainfall after all. Thanks to our Pacific disturbance, a lot of deep tropical moisture is now surging further north than it had been earlier in the year. It looks like we'll either be dealing with a sheared TS or typical afternoon boomers. What do you all think?
Member Since: December 1, 2006 Posts: 2 Comments: 3634
567. hurricane23
11:43 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
500 PM PDT WED MAY 28 2008

FOR THE EASTERN NORTH PACIFIC...EAST OF 140 DEGREES WEST LONGITUDE..

THE AREA OF LOW PRESSURE CENTERED ABOUT 50 MILES WEST OF THE NICOYA
PENINSULA OF COSTA RICA CONTINUES TO BECOME BETTER DEFINED AND IS
NEARING TROPICAL DEPRESSION STATUS. IF THIS DEVELOPMENT TREND
CONTINUES...TROPICAL CYCLONE ADVISORIES WILL BE INITIATED LATER
THIS EVENING. THIS SYSTEM HAS MOVED LITTLE OVER THE PAST FEW
HOURS...BUT A SLOW NORTHEASTWARD OR NORTHWARD MOTION CLOSE TO THE
COASTLINES OF COSTA RICA AND NICARAGUA IS EXPECTED OVER THE NEXT
DAY OR SO.

REGARDLESS OF WHETHER THIS SYSTEM BECOMES A TROPICAL CYCLONE...
TORRENTIAL RAINS ARE EXPECTED TO CONTINUE OVER PORTIONS OF
PANAMA...COSTA RICA...NICARAGUA AND HONDURAS FOR THE NEXT FEW DAYS.
THESE RAINS COULD CAUSE LIFE-THREATENING FLASH FLOODS AND MUD
SLIDES. FOR INFORMATION SPECIFIC TO YOUR AREA...PLEASE MONITOR
PRODUCTS ISSUED BY YOUR LOCAL WEATHER OFFICE.

$$
FORECASTER FRANKLIN/RHOME
Member Since: May 14, 2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13841
566. Tazmanian
11:43 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
look at this sea temps looks march hoter then they where in 2005




but do we have the same set up has 2005??? with the big H and evere thing ???
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115456
565. extreme236
11:43 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
stormkat this is the GFS shear in 48 hours...might want to make sure you take in all data before you make up 40+ knots of shear. This shows favorable conditions where the Caribbean disturbance will be.

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564. Cavin Rawlins
11:43 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
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561. pearlandaggie
11:41 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
i would like to see high shear in the caribbean AND the GOM!
Member Since: September 14, 2007 Posts: 3 Comments: 3963
559. DocBen
11:41 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
"the convection dissipated over land while blowing up/redeveloping over water on the other side)."

Might 90E do the same?
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558. JUSTCOASTING
11:41 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
good evening everyone !!!
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557. Tazmanian
11:39 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
236 what do mode say for the gulf????
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556. stormkat
11:39 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
extreme i respect your opinion but have to look at everyones on here...i was saying the new data i got shows the shear increasing to 40 knots over the caribbean in the next 48 hours...i said the GOM sst are marginal and are really not going to support tropical activity especially in the eastern GOM....stormkat
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555. FLWeatherFreak91
11:39 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
Wow, yeah landfall. What happens next? Wait for the possible Caribbean development?
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554. Tazmanian
11:38 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
yup
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553. Levi32
11:38 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
542. Drakoen 3:33 PM AKDT on May 28, 2008

That circulation isn't strong enough to do that. If anything 90E is controlling that area of low pressure since 90E's circulation is strong enough to create its own orbit. I find a more interesting factor in the mid to upper level cyclonic flow over the Caribbean to more of a factor for the storms movement.


I'm sorry I wasn't clear, that's essentially what I was refering to Drak. You're right 90E is basically in control of the show at surface and mid levels there, but that cyclonic flow has been tugging on it, plus the potential fujiwara effect, it's been trying to swing east around the other end of the mid-level trough/Caribbean low. We'll see which one of these forces prevails.
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552. extreme236
11:37 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
Yep Taz, I noticed the shear decreasing over the GOM, at least for now.
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551. Tazmanian
11:37 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
i think 90E may have made land fall not sure
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550. extreme236
11:36 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
If this were in the Atlantic this blog would be in overload alert:

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548. nrtiwlnvragn
7:34 PM EDT on May 28, 2008
545. DocBen

They are indicating that a cyclone could have already formed, and that would be its position at that time.
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547. Tazmanian
4:34 PM PDT on May 28, 2008
236 have you noted that the wind shear in the gulf has drop to 5 to 10kt today???


hi STL
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546. taistelutipu
2:23 AM EEST on May 29, 2008
484. moonlightcowboy 2:09 AM EEST on May 29, 2008
Ah, ok. That puts the importance of the factors in right proportions. So land interaction is always bad and the little difference in d-max and d-min there does not really influence the system and thus the most important factor for strengthening is to remain over warm water. Thanks a lot for taking the time to explain these correlations to me. I really appreciate it.

Have fun watching 90E and its possible twin 90L. I'm off to bed... 2.30 am here. oh well, damn the time difference. I don't want to know how long I'll be lurking here during peak season... =)

Bye, tipsku
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545. DocBen
11:32 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
nrtiwlnvragn

those maps all seem to try to develop a possible tropical cyclone over land?
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544. extreme236
11:33 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
I agree Adrian...I understand the diurnal cycle may have some effect but we will see if it rebounds.
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543. extreme236
11:32 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
This ignore button will be getting heavy use this year unfortunately...
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542. Drakoen
11:29 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
531. Levi32 11:28 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
527. Drakoen 3:26 PM AKDT on May 28, 2008 Hide this comment.
518. Levi32 11:21 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
And latest visible loop shows 90E moving NNW, we'll see if this holds, if it does then the models may have been right all along, we'll see.

Looks stationary to me. And even if it were to move in that direction that doesn't make the models right all along. None of them showed 90E getting this far east.

Well maybe it's an illusion or a wobble, I don't know yet, that's how it appears to me, we'll see.

And now the models didn't pick up on this far east because they didn't handle the mid-level circulation well, and it's been tugging on 90E this whole time trying to pull it east, but the models may be right about the eventual N to NW movement.


That circulation isn't strong enough to do that. If anything 90E is controlling that area of low pressure since 90E's circulation is strong enough to create its own orbit. I find a more interesting factor in the mid to upper level cyclonic flow over the Caribbean to more of a factor for the storms movement.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30833
541. hurricane23
7:32 PM EDT on May 28, 2008
Convection has really been on the decrease with 90E over the last few hours as land proximity is taken a toll.

VIEW HERE
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540. pearlandaggie
11:31 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
not quite as interesting as the caribbean/EPac stuff, but Nakri seems to be forming an eye...

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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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