NWS Questions if Record Low Severe Weather is Connected to the Derecho

Cedar Rapids Derecho storm damage 2020

IOWA -- It sounds like something out of the X-Files, but meteorologists are questioning whether last summer's derecho storm sucked up so much energy out of the atmosphere that it's led to a lack, or lag, in severe weather this spring.

Iowa is experiencing record low severe weather events, compared to a typical year.

"It's just really interesting how, if you look at a map of where the severe thunderstorm warnings have been issued so far, the least amount in the Midwest is exactly where the derecho went from Eastern Nebraska, Southeast South Dakota, all the way, of course Iowa, and Illinois, and then on into Ohio," said Jim Haase with the National Weather Service.

He says they're not exactly sure if the two are directly correlated, but severe weather warnings are significantly lower than previous years in the area where the derecho passed through.

"For example, Moline, we've only had about two or three thunderstorm days this spring. Normally, by now, you should have 16."

Haase says places like upper Michigan are having more severe weather warnings than Iowa this spring, in an area that typically doesn't experience severe weather until July.

"Then if you go down into West Texas and New Mexico, they've issued 150 severe thunderstorm warnings so far. And we've only issued one in Davenport this spring."

Now, they question how long this pattern will last and whether severe weather will return and in what condition.

"I don't think anybody's figured it out yet."

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