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

Share this Blog
2
+

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

Reader Comments

Comments will take a few seconds to appear.

Post Your Comments

Please sign in to post comments.

or Join

Not only will you be able to leave comments on this blog, but you'll also have the ability to upload and share your photos in our Wunder Photos section.

Display: 0, 50, 100, 200 Sort: Newest First - Order Posted

Viewing: 390 - 340

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23Blog Index

390. HIEXPRESS
6:06 PM EDT on May 28, 2008

329. FLWeatherFreak91 8:53 PM GMT
Is there any way to change your handle without signing up for a new account? I hope so bc I have a paid account and I don't want to have to make another...

I asked before, to get rid of the CAPS, and I was told it was not possible. got to admit, the CAPS do GROW on you after AWHILE.
Member Since: October 13, 2005 Posts: 4 Comments: 2156
388. MasterForecaster
10:08 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
JFV, while Drak is very knowledgable and I do not doubt his forecasting skills, when you ask a question like that do you really expect him to know the answer? It's all speculation now...just like before the NFL season starts lol
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
387. CaneAddict
10:08 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
382. juniormeteorologist 10:00 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
this storm looks like a tropical storm already..anyway, the gfs models take this into georgia and plus sc by sunday june 08...cool!

Thats more than 10 days from now and besides whatever gets there IF it does it will be nothing but clouds.
Member Since: October 5, 2007 Posts: 3 Comments: 2151
386. TerraNova
6:07 PM EDT on May 28, 2008
WTPN21 PHNC 281530
MSGID/GENADMIN/NAVPACMETOCCEN PEARL HARBOR HI/JTWC//
SUBJ/TROPICAL CYCLONE FORMATION ALERT//
RMKS/
1. FORMATION OF A SIGNIFICANT TROPICAL CYCLONE IS POSSIBLE WITHIN
065 NM EITHER SIDE OF A LINE FROM 9.8N 88.1W TO 12.1N 87.3W WITHIN
THE NEXT 06 TO 24 HOURS. AVAILABLE DATA DOES NOT JUSTIFY ISSUANCE
OF NUMBERED TROPICAL CYCLONE WARNINGS AT THIS TIME. WINDS IN THE
AREA ARE ESTIMATED TO BE 18 TO 23 KNOTS. METSAT IMAGERY AT 281200Z
INDICATES THAT A CIRCULATION CENTER IS LOCATED NEAR 10.0N 88.0W.
THE SYSTEM IS MOVING NORTHEASTWARD AT 06 KNOTS.
2. REMARKS: AN AREA OF CONVECTION HAS PERSISTED NEAR 10.0N 88.0W,
APPROXIMATELY 135 NM SOUTHWEST OF PUERTO MASACHAP, NICARAGUA.
RECENT ANIMATED INFRARED SATELLITE IMAGERY INDICATES SLOWLY
CONSOLIDATING CONVECTION OVER A LOW LEVEL CIRCULATION CENTER (LLCC).
A 281150Z SSMIS MICROWAVE SATELLITE IMAGE DEPICTS IMPROVED CONVECTIVE
BANDING AND A BETTER DEFINED LLCC. UPPER LEVEL ANALYSIS SHOWS LOW
VERTICAL WIND SHEAR AND GOOD DIFFLUENCE ALOFT. MAXIMUM SUSTAINED
SURFACE WINDS ARE ESTIMATED AT 18 TO 23 KNOTS. MINIMUM SEA LEVEL
PRESSURE IS ESTIMATED TO BE NEAR 1006 MB. DUE TO THE IMPROVED
CONSOLIDATION OF THE LLCC, THE POTENTIAL FOR DEVELOPMENT OF
A SIGNIFICANT TROPICAL CYCLONE WITHIN THE NEXT 24 HOURS IS GOOD.
3. THIS ALERT WILL BE REISSUED, UPGRADED TO WARNING OR CANCELLED
BY 291530Z.
//

NNNN
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
384. cdo
10:00 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
not all that impressive
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
382. juniormeteorologist
9:57 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
this storm looks like a tropical storm already..anyway, the gfs models take this into georgia and plus sc by sunday june 08...cool!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
381. moonlightcowboy
4:56 PM CDT on May 28, 2008
380. Quasi makes a good explanation diurnal effects in his blog here, too. Good reading.



Member Since: July 9, 2006 Posts: 184 Comments: 29610
380. taistelutipu
12:42 AM EEST on May 29, 2008
234. Weather456 10:15 PM EEST on May 28, 2008

Hi Weather456, hi everyone.

May I ask a beginner's / lurker's question? The post mentioned above dealt with the d-max and when it occurs over land and over sea. I basically understand what it is but I'd like to find out more about its causes and its dynamics. So I hit diurnal maximum and diurnal minimum in google but I didn't get any helpful results (e.g. a link to the wiki article on Andrew). Could anyone of you more experienced members recommend me a site where I can find information about this? Thank you very much for your advice.

*back to lurking mode*
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
379. Drakoen
9:45 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
Impressive

Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30562
378. moonlightcowboy
4:43 PM CDT on May 28, 2008
JP, I see that. Here we go northwards! Hey, looking forward to your #3 storm tonight!
Member Since: July 9, 2006 Posts: 184 Comments: 29610
377. weatherboykris
9:43 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
374. Dakster 9:41 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
In the latest sat picture it looks like 90E is splitting in two. One part to stay in the Epac and the other into the Carribean...

I guess only time will tell...


Actually, the whole thing is drifting northwards.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
376. Drakoen
9:42 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
This GFS run looks more bullish as the rest. I doubt its gonna jump that far west within 6 hours.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30562
374. Dakster
9:41 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
In the latest sat picture it looks like 90E is splitting in two. One part to stay in the Epac and the other into the Carribean...

I guess only time will tell...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
373. Drakoen
9:40 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
372. jphurricane2006 9:39 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
90E located at 9.8N 86.7W

drifting northward


86.4W
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30562
371. stormhank
9:38 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
tks also fla weather
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
370. weatherboykris
9:38 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
369. stormhank 9:37 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
thanks kris..so we might get some well needed rain..here in fla. perhaps


We can hope.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
369. stormhank
9:36 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
thanks kris..so we might get some well needed rain..here in fla. perhaps
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
368. FLWeatherFreak91
5:35 PM EDT on May 28, 2008
366. stormhank 5:33 PM EDT on May 28, 2008 Hide this comment.
Link this is the GFS 12Z run out 216 hrs.. the area of rain it shows over gulf? is that moisture from 90E few days from now?


Not necessarily 90E, but whatever comes from the Caribbean in that area. There may end up being two systems... but that rain does look good for us here in Fl
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
367. weatherboykris
9:35 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
366. stormhank 9:33 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
Link this is the GFS 12Z run out 216 hrs.. the area of rain it shows over gulf? is that moisture from 90E few days from now?


Yes. And more like 10 days from now.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
366. stormhank
9:33 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
Link this is the GFS 12Z run out 216 hrs.. the area of rain it shows over gulf? is that moisture from 90E few days from now?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
365. moonlightcowboy
4:16 PM CDT on May 28, 2008
RAMSDAIS Thermal IR loop

90E appears to be holding its own in the ePac. The Carib low seems to have gained some distance from the invest which would have possibly allowed further development, but it will wind up taking a beating from increasing shear.
Member Since: July 9, 2006 Posts: 184 Comments: 29610
364. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
9:25 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
LOL
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
363. weatherboykris
9:24 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
362. HadesGodWyvern 9:24 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
From the CPHC...

Central Pacific Hurricane Center... why are they monitoring this disturbance?


You tell me, man. LOL
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
362. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
9:23 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
From the CPHC...

Central Pacific Hurricane Center... why are they monitoring this disturbance?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
361. weatherboykris
9:19 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
From the CPHC...

1100 AM PDT WED MAY 28 2008
FOR THE EASTERN NORTH PACIFIC...EAST OF 140 DEGREES WEST LONGITUDE..

A BROAD AREA OF LOW PRESSURE NEARING THE WEST COAST OF COSTA RICA
AND NICARAGUA IS PRODUCING A LARGE AREA OF DISTURBED WEATHER
EXTENDING FROM THE EASTERN PACIFIC ACROSS PORTIONS OF CENTRAL
AMERICA AND THE ADJACENT CARIBBEAN SEA. THIS SYSTEM IS GRADUALLY
BECOMING BETTER ORGANIZED...AND A TROPICAL DEPRESSION COULD FORM AT
ANY TIME BEFORE IT MOVES NORTHEASTWARD OR NORTHWARD OVER CENTRAL
AMERICA WITHIN THE NEXT 24 HOURS OR SO. REGARDLESS OF ADDITIONAL
DEVELOPMENT... TORRENTIAL RAINS ARE EXPECTED TO SPREAD 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.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
360. kmanislander
9:21 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
Out for now
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 15842
359. Drakoen
9:18 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
357. kmanislander 9:18 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
Thanks for that Drak. Well done.


Yea. You have to find the time to study and commit to it. Also I find it very useful to have a general knowledge about everything that has to do with weather rather than limiting oneself to just tropical cyclones, severe weather, etc.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30562
357. kmanislander
9:16 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
Thanks for that Drak. Well done.
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 15842
356. 69Viking
4:12 PM CDT on May 28, 2008
Yes; in today's age of the Internet, anything you could ever want to know is online.

Yes; and things you never want to know or see too!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
355. weatherboykris
9:10 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
Thanks that means a lot to me. Basically what I did was study a lot with online resources.

Yes; in today's age of the Internet, anything you could ever want to know is online.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
354. Baybuddy
9:05 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
I saw on the news that NASA is making room on the shuttle for parts to repair the defective Russian toilet on the international space station. My question is, If the astronauts are fixing a toilet in space, is it possible to have plumbers butt in a space suit?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
353. Drakoen
9:06 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
349. kmanislander 9:05 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
hey Drak

I have been reading a lot your posts this year and you seem to have more knowledge than last year. In fact, your posts have the tone of a met behind them.

Did you take some courses since last season or are you a met ?. I am not being tongue in cheek or anything but analytically you seem a lot stronger this year.


Thanks that means a lot to me. Basically what I did was study a lot with online resources.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30562
352. Patrap
4:07 PM CDT on May 28, 2008
GOES-12 (3Channel) Gulf and Tropics (Updated every ~1/2 hour) Link
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
351. weatherboykris
9:07 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
350. floridastorm 9:07 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
is the new update from noaa at 5 p.m?


8PM EDT, 5PM PDT. 3 more hours.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
350. floridastorm
9:04 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
is the new update from noaa at 5 p.m?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
349. kmanislander
8:59 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
hey Drak

I have been reading a lot your posts this year and you seem to have more knowledge than last year. In fact, your posts have the tone of a met behind them.

Did you take some courses since last season or are you a met ?. I am not being tongue in cheek or anything but analytically you seem a lot stronger this year.
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 15842
348. Patrap
4:04 PM CDT on May 28, 2008
Cocodrie I hear.

..but Check with DocNDswamp
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
347. Baybuddy
9:03 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
Where are the redfish pat?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
346. smmcdavid
4:03 PM CDT on May 28, 2008
No one believe that! Ha ha. There's a shout out to you in my blog today (well in the comments section).
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
345. Patrap
4:02 PM CDT on May 28, 2008
Hiding?
Im a busy man today.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
344. FLWeatherFreak91
5:02 PM EDT on May 28, 2008
Thanks pat for the link!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
343. smmcdavid
4:00 PM CDT on May 28, 2008
Hey Pat, have you been hiding?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
342. seflagamma
5:00 PM AST on May 28, 2008
LOL, yes, good prediction! LOL
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
341. presslord
4:59 PM EDT on May 28, 2008
I've been right here...just didn't make the connection...I'm old, for God's sake...not as sharp as I used to be....
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
340. Baybuddy
8:58 PM GMT on May 28, 2008
stormcat is stormtop, cats start marrying dogs Dr. M becomes Mc Cains V.P. running mate, CHAOS!!!!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Viewing: 390 - 340

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23Blog Index

Top of Page

About

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