EF5 Tornado in Parkersburg, Iowa May 2008

Strong supercell developed in northeast Iowa, west of Waterloo in the late afternoon of May 25, 2008. The first tornado warning of the cell was issued at 4:22 pm for the Parkersburg area, The first tornado from this cell was reported near Aplington in Butler County at 4:48 pm. It then tracked toward Parkersburg, slamming into the southern part of the community just before 5:00 pm. At that time, the tornado was estimated to be about 7/10 mile (1.1 km) wide. After passing through Parkersburg, the tornado continued eastward toward New Hartford, impacting a housing development near the community at 5:09 pm. The tornado then passed just north of Waterloo and Cedar Falls and shrunk to about 1/4 mile (400 m) in width as it continued to impact rural areas. As the tornado approached Dunkerton, it turned to the east-northeast and grew to 1.2 miles wide. Shortly before reaching Fairbank, the tornado likely dissipated, at which point it was replaced by a second tornado, about a mile and a half south of Fairbank.

Catastrophic tornado damage in Parkersburg, Iowa caused by the EF5 tornado.
Catastrophic damage was reported in Parkersburg as much of the town was destroyed, with reports of flattened houses and debarked trees. Six people were killed in Parkersburg and at least three fatalities were reported in New Hartford, where a housing development was destroyed. At least 70 people were injured.
Farther east, Waterloo Regional Airport reported a 93 mph wind gust, and houses were destroyed just northwest of the airport. The storm passed south of Fairbank where numerous farm houses were destroyed. There were more reports of destroyed houses in Dunkerton and mobile homes were destroyed and thrown around in Hazelton. Damage was also reported near Dundee before the tornado dissipated. The damage may have been caused by one or multiple tornadoes. A final assessment determined that the tornado was an EF5 with estimated peak winds of about 205 miles per hour. Damage in the eastern part of the track was rated EF3 according to the NWS office in the Quad Cities. 288 homes in Parkersburg, 88 in New Hartford, 15 in Hazelton and another 50 in Black Hawk County were destroyed by the tornado. According to FEMA and the Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management, damage was preliminary estimated at around $6 million in northern Iowa including more than $3 million in Butler County alone. While the tornado was caught on tape and photographed by spotters, a surveillance camera inside a bank in Parkersburg also caught the tornado on tape as the storm passed over the building. Another surveillance camera show the tornado ripping the roof of a home across a street before the video was lost.

Tornado damaged house on the corner of Main Street and 3rd Street (hence the sign) in Parkersburg, Iowa, one week after the EF5 tornado hit the town
After the tornado, Governor Chet Culver declared Butler and Black Hawk counties disaster areas due to the extensive storm damage. The tornado was the first F5 or EF5 tornado in Iowa since one hit Jordan on June 13, 1976 and the second deadliest in Iowa since official record-keeping began in 1950. The deadliest tornado affected the Charles City area on May 15, 1968 and killed 13 while producing F5 damage.
On May 29, the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reported that lightweight debris from the Waterloo area, including photographs, check stubs, and “greeting cards and business records” from a Waterloo Walgreen’s, had been found in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, over 100 miles (160 km) away.

This is Surveillance footage from the First State bank in Parkersburg, Iowa when it was forced to face the raw power of mother nature!

Iowa 2008 Tornado



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