Wednesday’s Iowa Storm Was Bad, But Was it Technically a Derecho?
"I never want to go through that again, and hopefully we won't", we said after the August 10, 2020 derecho. Well...
If you were like me, and following the forecasts leading up to the latest storm that hit Iowa Wednesday, you found yourself partly freaked out because it vaguely resembled the 2020 derecho. But on the other hand, you found cooler heads prevailing. The actual numbers predicted in terms of wind speed were still nothing to sneeze at, but not quite up to that level. More than once, I said to myself, "it won't be as bad as the derecho."
All Derechos are not created equally
But they're a lot more common than we knew before. It's just that now we have a name for it, and we also have a frame of reference.
In fact, it wasn't "as bad" as what we will dub THE derecho, with its winds in excess of 100 miles per hour. But I'm here to tell you, and so is Rich Kinney of the National Weather Service branch in the Quad Cities, that the line of storms that moved through Iowa Wednesday, was in fact a derecho.
Kinney, in a piece in the Cedar Rapids Gazette, says the criteria for a derecho is wind gusts of 60 mph or more, for a line of at least 240 miles. Simply put, says Kinney, a derecho is "a widespread, straight-line windstorm." That, it was.
In Des Moines, winds reportedly reached 74 miles per hour. The Eastern Iowa Airport recorded winds at 66 mph and Iowa City, 70. Over 37,000 homes in Iowa were at one point without power, and over half a million in eight states. 43 of 99 counties were declared disaster areas by Governor Reynolds.
We have filed several stories that continue to be updated surrounding the storm and its aftermath, with links to each below.