Eastern Iowa Tornadoes May 25, 2008

May 25, 2019 marks 11 years since a devastating EF-5 tornado forever changed the lives of those living in Parkersburg, New Hartford and Dike. There were several other tornadoes across the KWWL viewing area that day. Here’s a blog post we wrote last year:

“May 25, 2008 was an active day for severe weather across eastern Iowa, with six tornadoes being confirmed across the KWWL viewing area.  Of note was the EF-5 tornado impacting Parkersburg, New Hartford and Dunkerton with estimated peak wind speeds up to 205 mph, and the EF-3 tornado near Fairbank and Hazleton, with peak wind speeds up to 160 mph.

There was also an EF-1 tornado south of Lamont in Buchanan County, as well as an EF-1 south of Petersburg in Dubuque County.  Another EF-1 touched down near Interstate 80 in western Iowa County, fortunately not impacting many people.  And finally, an EF-0 was reported north of North Liberty.  To read the full assessments from the NWS Quad Cities, click here.

  1.  The tornado touched down 2 miles south of Aplington, before growing to 3/4 of a mile wide as it moved to the south side of Parkersburg.  300 homes and businesses were destroyed.  Seven people were killed, with many others injured.  From there, the tornado went down Highway 57 and tore through the northern part of New Hartford, where it killed two people, and damaged and destroyed many homes.  The Sinclair Elevator and the Oak Hill Cemetery took a direct hit.  Read the full assessment from NWS Des Moines here.
  2. The EF-2 tornado in Buchanan County touched down near Fairbank.  The tornado was 0.7 miles wide and was on the ground for 32.4 miles.  Three homes were destroyed, with many others damaged, along with several downed trees and power lines.  On the south side of Hazleton, many mobile homes were destroyed.  Three people were injured
  3. EF-1 tornado south of Lemont was about 100 yards wide with an estimated peak wind speed of 90 mph, and was on the ground for 2 miles.  There were many outbuildings and trees that were damaged.  No injuries or deaths were reported.
  4. An EF-1 was confirmed south of Petersburg in Delaware county.  The tornado was 250 yards wide with estimated wind speeds of 90 mph, and was on the ground for 7.75 miles.  Trees and outbuildings were damaged, along with more than 1,000 trees destroyed in New Wine Park.  No injuries/deaths were reported.
  5. An EF-0 was reported north of North Liberty in Johnson County. Estimated wind speeds were 85 mph, and it was 100 yards wide with a path of 0.1 miles.  Many trees were uprooted, and several homes were damaged.
  6. And EF-1 tornado was reported near Interstate 80 in Iowa County.  Estimated wind speeds were 90 mph, and it was 250 yard wide and was on the ground for 6 miles.  No injuries or fatalities were reported.  A grain bin near Victor was blown over, and a tree fell on a mobile home.  Many machine sheds were also damaged.

Here is a full list of the storm reports, mesoscale discussion, watches and outlooks for the nation that day.

The Enhanced Fujita scale is used to estimate wind speed based on the damage from the tornado.  They are not measured wind speeds.”

Kyle Kiel

Kyle Kiel

Meteorologist
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