- The Midwest derecho on Aug. 10 was in a league rarely seen.
- Wind gusts up to 140 mph were clocked in Iowa.
- Removal of storm debris in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, took 11 months.
One of the worst derechos in U.S. history ripped through the Midwest a year ago Tuesday, leaving behind a multi-billion dollar trail of destruction, and months of clean-up in its wake.
Derechos are large clusters of thunderstorms that most commonly form in late spring and summer and cause widespread destruction to trees, power lines and sometimes structures. Last year’s Midwest derecho on Aug. 10 was in a league rarely seen, and could arguably be referred to as a super derecho, much like a few others in history.
The derecho began in southeast South Dakota and northeast Nebraska during the early morning hours. From there, it intensified as it crossed through Iowa and then went on to cause damage as far east as northern Illinois, southern Wisconsin, northern Indiana, southern Michigan and western Ohio by the afternoon and evening.
In 14 hours, the derecho caused an estimated $11.5 billion in damage across the 770 miles it traveled. Four deaths were blamed on the storm complex.
Power was knocked out to almost 2 million homes and businesses, with some outages lasting days, even weeks.
In addition to structural damage, downed trees and widespread power outages, the strong winds resulted in major agricultural losses for farmers. Millions of acres of corn and soybean crops were damaged in central Iowa, according to NOAA.
Iowa took the brunt of some of the most extreme winds from this derecho.
Removal of curbside tree and storm debris in Cedar Rapids was finally completed in July, according to the city. An estimated 4 million yards of tree debris were removed.
Of the 128 severe thunderstorm events in NOAA’s billion-dollar database, only the April 2011 Super Outbreak ($12.5 billion) – a multi-day outbreak of over 300 tornadoes, including 15 rated EF4 or EF5 – was more costly than the 2020 Midwest derecho.
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