The National Weather Service has compiled a final report documenting Iowa’s extraordinary tornado season in 2008. Meteorologist Rod Donavan says a total of 105 tornadoes were reported around the state.
Iowa typically has around 50 tornadoes in a year. Last year’s twisters killed 12 people and injured 133 others. That compares to 13 tornado-related fatalities between 1980 and 2007. The largest single-day outbreak of tornadoes in 2008 occurred on June 11th, when 16 tornadoes touched down – including one that hit a boy scout camp in Harrison County, killing four boy scouts.
On May 25, an E-F-5 tornado leveled Parkersburg and New Hartford. Donavan says the destruction left by that single tornado is astounding.
He says the damage on May 25 equaled about 20-percent of the damage left by all tornadoes in Iowa over the previous eight years. The twister packed winds higher than 200 miles per hour, making it the first E-F-5 to hit Iowa since 1976 and only the third E-F-5 in the U.S. since 1999.