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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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...

Member Since: September 14, 2007 Posts: 3 Comments: 3963
539. extreme236
11:30 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
stormkat last I checked the Caribbean isn't in the gulf nor is this thing going to be in the gulf for another several days. Your weather office must be malfunctioning and giving you some wacko data.
Member Since: August 2, 2007 Posts: 19 Comments: 19234
537. watch
11:30 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
Tornado warning outside of Las Vegas

Link
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536. Tazmanian
4:30 PM PDT on May 28, 2008
thats ok TampaSpin
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115104
535. stormkat
11:23 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
cane i respect your opinion but i think you are dead wrong no chance this thing will develop in the caribbean....the gulf has very marginal sst and the shear is going to pick up...latest data i received shows shear increasing as another trough moves in....sorry cane i call it as i see it...but i do respect your opinion...stormkat
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534. DocBen
11:27 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
sunset - D-min - and the Caribbean is almost completely covered with clouds. Can this thing organize itself over the next 12 hours? (D-max)
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533. extreme236
11:28 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
None of the models predicted 90E to move this far east so I'm not sure how much to trust the direction the models have it going in.
Member Since: August 2, 2007 Posts: 19 Comments: 19234
532. TampaSpin
7:27 PM EDT on May 28, 2008
ooopssss......sorry taz.....lol
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531. Levi32
3:27 PM AKDT 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 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.
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530. nrtiwlnvragn
7:25 PM EDT on May 28, 2008
New surface forecast maps are out

24 hr

48 hr

72 hr
Member Since: September 23, 2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 11165
529. TampaSpin
7:26 PM EDT on May 28, 2008
Current Weather Conditions:
San Andres Isla / Sesquicentenario, Colombia
(SKSP) 12-35N 081-43W 6M

Conditions at May 28, 2008 - 07:00 PM EDTMay 28, 2008 - 06:00 PM CDTMay 28, 2008 - 05:00 PM MDTMay 28, 2008 - 04:00 PM PDTMay 28, 2008 - 03:00 PM ADTMay 28, 2008 - 02:00 PM HDT
2008.05.28 2300 UTC
Wind from the SE (130 degrees) at 6 MPH (5 KT)
Visibility greater than 7 mile(s)
Sky conditions overcast
Weather Light drizzle
Temperature 75 F (24 C)
Dew Point 73 F (23 C)
Relative Humidity 94%
Pressure (altimeter) 29.78 in. Hg (1008 hPa)
ob SKSP 282300Z 13005KT 9999 -DZ FEW020 OVC080 24/23 A2978

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

24 Hour Summary
Time
EDT (UTC) Temperature
F (C) Dew Point
F (C) Pressure
Inches (hPa) Wind
MPH Weather
Latest 7 PM (23) May 28 75 (24) 73 (23) 29.78 (1008) SE 6 light drizzle
6 PM (22) May 28 77 (25) 75 (24) 29.78 (1008) S 3 drizzle
5 PM (21) May 28 78 (26) 77 (25) 29.77 (1008) ESE 3
4 PM (20) May 28 77 (25) 75 (24) 29.77 (1008) SE 6 light drizzle
3 PM (19) May 28 77 (25) 75 (24) 29.79 (1008) SE 6 light drizzle
2 PM (18) May 28 75 (24) 75 (24) 29.81 (1009) Calm light drizzle
1 PM (17) May 28 75 (24) 73 (23) 29.82 (1009) Calm light drizzle
Noon (16) No Data
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 178 Comments: 20439
528. Tazmanian
4:23 PM PDT on May 28, 2008
TampaSpin would you like to be # 23??? then i would watch on how you put that

you sould have said WOW Taz 22 thats a lot


by the way evere one look at the wind shear in the gulf today its down to 5 to 10kt today



Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115104
527. Drakoen
11:24 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
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.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30490
526. Drakoen
11:21 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
514. Levi32 11:19 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
507. nash28 3:17 PM AKDT on May 28, 2008 Hide this comment.
It is basically connected. We have seen this before gang. Piece of the original broad elongated Low breaks away, comes down to sfc and bang.

Yup, I totally agree, I just don't think that's possible in this case unless 90E jumps northeast under that elongated low, or gets out of the picture entirely or dissipates.


That is the solution of the NOGAPS 18z run.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30490
525. Weather456
6:54 PM AST on May 28, 2008
90E

LIBERIA TOMAS, Costa Rica (MRLB)

Altimeter Setting 1005.1 hPa
Station Pressure 994.1 hPa
Temperature 23 C
Dew Point 22 C
Relative Humidity 94 %
Wind Direction 90 deg (E)
Wind Speed 7 m/s
Visibility 9.0 km
Clouds Scattered at 610 meters
Overcast at 3350 meters
Weather light rain
Air Density 1.158 kg/m3


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524. TampaSpin
7:22 PM EDT on May 28, 2008
Damn TAz only 22......lmao
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523. Tazmanian
4:21 PM PDT on May 28, 2008
looks like 90E has made land fall or this about too
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522. hurricane23
7:21 PM EDT on May 28, 2008
Personally i dont think 90E will cross over into the ATL actually it looks like it may will drift north to northwest before turning back to the west.Very weak steering currents in the area.

Land interaction should keep 90E in check.

Here is a view of the 18z models for 90E.
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521. GeoffreyWPB
7:21 PM EDT on May 28, 2008
Are the pressures in the Carib. dropping to below normal levels on a steady basis?
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520. CaneAddict
11:20 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
491. extreme236 11:12 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
Yea Stormkat that 10-20 knot shear (and decreasing) over the center of the Caribbean disturbance might rip it too shreds...


Folks remember, 10-20 knots shear is very destructive and could rip a Category five hurricane to pieces in a matter of hours. However if it is above 30 knots it makes convection increase and intensifys the hurricane :-)!
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519. Tazmanian
4:18 PM PDT on May 28, 2008
the ignore list is going to be vary ues full this year i have 22 on my ignore list right now
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115104
518. Levi32
3:21 PM AKDT 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.
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517. GeoffreyWPB
7:18 PM EDT on May 28, 2008
A bit off topic...Former Press. Sec. Scott McClellan will be on Keith Olberman's show tonight..and one of the topics will be the mishandling of the Gov. of Katrina.
Member Since: September 10, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 11155
516. nash28
11:18 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
90E will not be 90E much longer folks... It's headed from some topography that will most likely be curtains, especially for a weak sfc low. Hells bells, tomorrow afternoon could be nite nite for this thing:-)
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515. CaneAddict
11:11 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
485. stormkat 11:09 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
i defeinitely agree with hurr 23 on this one ...it will be a very slow process with all the shear.....stormkat


Shear is already showing signs of decreasing...Once that trough moves out of the Caribbean shear will likly die down very rapidly....

junior: Those to disturbances you see on the model run are likely just blobs of convection, There doesent appear to be any associated low-pressure areas with them.
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514. Levi32
3:18 PM AKDT on May 28, 2008
507. nash28 3:17 PM AKDT on May 28, 2008 Hide this comment.
It is basically connected. We have seen this before gang. Piece of the original broad elongated Low breaks away, comes down to sfc and bang.


Yup, I totally agree, I just don't think that's possible in this case unless 90E jumps northeast under that elongated low, or gets out of the picture entirely or dissipates.
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513. zoomiami
11:18 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
Nash - we wrote the same thing! and I didn't copy, lol
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512. extreme236
11:17 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
Be back in about 20 minutes or so...
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511. KoritheMan
11:15 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
CaneAddict, why don't you just put stormkat on your ignore list? Seriously, I'm sure that's what everyone here has done (including myself).
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510. moonlightcowboy
6:17 PM CDT on May 28, 2008
503. Yep, Drakoen, makes sense, thanks! Should've figured that one.
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509. zoomiami
11:15 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
This situation is similar to the one we talked about yesterday - the storm that hopped across Florida.

If 90E travels far enough over land, the energy that remains in the caribbean could pick up the circulation. At that point, it would be if the caribbean system could sustain itself.

None of the current information gives us that answer, so as usual, its up to the blob watchers!
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508. Levi32
3:15 PM AKDT on May 28, 2008
And extreme's surface map reminded me....we were talking yesterday about how tropical waves may impact this event, and we have one moving through the SW Caribbean right now, which is enhancing that area of convection. Will be interesting to see how it interacts with 90E in the next day or two.
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507. nash28
11:15 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
It is basically connected. We have seen this before gang. Piece of the original broad elongated Low breaks away, comes down to sfc and bang.
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506. TampaSpin
7:14 PM EDT on May 28, 2008
Levi look at post 448.....lol
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505. Tazmanian
4:13 PM PDT on May 28, 2008
CARIBBEAN SEA...
BROAD UPPER RIDGE DOMINATES MUCH OF THE CARIBBEAN WITH A SHEAR
AXIS EXTENDING ACROSS CENTRAL CUBA TO OVER HONDURAS AND
NICARAGUA. THE SW UPPER FLOW ACROSS THE SW CARIBBEAN IS DRAWING
UPPER LEVEL EPAC MOISTURE ACROSS CENTRAL AMERICA INTO THE
CARIBBEAN SEA. A WEAK 1007 MB SURFACE LOW PRESSURE COUPLED WITH
THE PRESENCE OF THE TROPICAL WAVE ALONG 80W ARE PRODUCING A
BROAD AREA OF DENSE CLOUDINESS WITH SCATTERED SHOWERS AND
EMBEDDED THUNDERSTORMS S OF 17N W OF 72W OVER THE SW CARIBBEAN
SEA...N COLOMBIA AND CENTRAL AMERICA. A TROPICAL WAVE IS MOVING
ACROSS THE E CARIBBEAN AND VIRGIN ISLANDS CONTINUING TO PRODUCE
SCATTERED SHOWERS AND ISOLATED THUNDERSTORMS ACROSS THE N
LEEWARD ISLANDS...PUERTO RICO AND E HISPANIOLA
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115104
504. extreme236
11:15 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
Well by the looks of it 90E could be out of the picture in anywhere from 12-48 hours or so according to the NHC.
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503. Drakoen
11:14 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
Post 445: MLC, there is no mistake on those maps. The times those maps where issued are different.
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502. Levi32
3:14 PM AKDT on May 28, 2008
Yeah, I know, but we can't have both 90E and another development in the Caribbean, it's impossible. And the Caribbean low can't develop any further until 90E is either out of the way or joins forces with one of the mid-level centers.
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501. zoomiami
11:13 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
Please don't copy the comments of those causing issues - some of us have them on ignore!
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500. GeoffreyWPB
7:13 PM EDT on May 28, 2008
All right you wise guys...(clunking heads together)
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499. TerraNova
7:13 PM EDT on May 28, 2008
Atmospheric soundings would seem to indicate that 90E and the Caribbean system both share the same mid level circulation. The only difference being that 90E has a stronger vorticity maximum (it has a surface circulation) at the surface level...
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498. TampaSpin
7:11 PM EDT on May 28, 2008
CaneAddict doing well caught nearly a 30pd black grouper yesterday and 1/2in away from being to big red fish and in the frying pan tonite....doing very well......lol
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497. extreme236
11:13 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
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496. nash28
11:12 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
Levi- I know that. That's why I said if a piece of the energy can break away, and come down to the sfc from the mid levels, then we may have something.
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495. extreme236
11:12 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
Well Levi the Caribbean system is a separate low pressure center...
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494. Weatherkid24
11:10 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
In the red corner we have invest 90E.... and in the blue corner we have the caribbean blob..LOL!!
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493. KoritheMan
11:07 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
So now our focus shifts from 90E/TD One-E to the Carribean disturbance, I see. I noticed that feature when I logged on an hour or so ago. It does seem that 90E is absorbing the energy from the Carribean disturbance and until it breaks away from the circulation of 90E, it won't develop into anything. Also, upper-level shear is currently pretty strong (on the order of 40 knots in some locations) in the Carribean, so it'll be difficult for a disturbance to rapidly develop there. Wouldn't be surprised if this eventually became a tropical cyclone, though.
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492. moonlightcowboy
6:09 PM CDT on May 28, 2008
477. I'm trying to change my schedule somewhat, lol. Got a busy day tomorrow, too. When cane season's on, a few of us have to handle the late shift! LOL
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491. extreme236
11:10 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
Yea Stormkat that 10-20 knot shear (and decreasing) over the center of the Caribbean disturbance might rip it too shreds...
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490. CaneAddict
11:08 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
450. stormkat 10:46 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
extreme you still remember that i guess no one on here will forget i had it right on but i would like to forget about it....thats the past last 2 years i been right on the money with 2 dull seasons...where is my buddy lefty....i am so sure we wont have to worry about a cat 5 this year if their is one i think its going to hit the east coast...currents have changed and the azores high has set up much further north this season....we should have little activity in the GOM...i would be worried if i lived on the east coast though....stormkat


Do you want a cookie? You came to this blog with the wrong attitude to try and impress other bloggers....We are'nt interested in someone that thinks they know more than everyone else including the NHC....take the crap somewhere else.
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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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