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Wednesday marks 14 years since devastating Parkersburg tornado

FILE-Widespread damage to the city of Parkersburg on Sunday, May 25, 2008.
FILE-Widespread damage to the city of Parkersburg on Sunday, May 25, 2008.(The Gazette/KCRG)
Published: May. 25, 2022 at 8:50 PM CDT
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PARKERSBURG, Iowa (KCRG) - A Sunday afternoon in late May 2008 will be one that will not be forgotten for many in eastern Iowa, but particularly in parts of Butler and Black Hawk Counties.

At around 4:48 p.m. on May 25, 2008, a tornado formed about two miles south of Aplington and took a course to the east-northeast. It strengthened quickly; it started producing damage equivalent to an EF-2 or greater within minutes, and widened to approximately 3/4 of a mile. It moved into the southern side of Parkersburg and caused devastation on a scale which Iowa hadn’t seen in a long time.

The storm’s peak intensity was estimated at about 205 mph, which falls into the EF-5, or strongest, part of the Enhanced Fujita Scale. It stayed on the ground, at varying intensity, for about 43 miles. It destroyed about 200 homes in Parkersburg and caused extensive damage in other areas along its path. At its widest, it was an incredible 1.2 miles wide north of Dunkerton.

Nine people were killed by the storm, and 50 were reported injured.

Parkersburg, Iowa Tornado - Grundy County Sheriff Video

Shortly before 5 p.m. CT on May 25, 2008, a destructive tornado was about to enter the town of Parkersburg, Iowa. This is the dash camera from the Grundy County (Iowa) Sheriff's Department.

Posted by US National Weather Service Des Moines Iowa on Friday, May 25, 2018

Damage estimates topped $100 million, though it would be difficult now for someone not familiar with the city of Parkersburg to be able to tell that such a storm took place. The community, and Iowans at large, pitched in and rebuilt.

We took a look back at the more detailed timeline of events with the storm on its 10th anniversary in 2018.

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