Disaster Declaration for 43 Iowa Counties after Record Winds, Tornadoes

Photo: Johnston Police Department Photo

(Des Moines, IA) -- Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds is issuing a disaster proclamation for 43 counties after the December 15 high winds, thunderstorms, and tornadoes.

The National Weather Service is still investigating storm damage, but confirms at least five likely tornadoes. There were 33 tornado warnings reported across the state. That is the most tornado warnings ever in the month of December in Iowa, a month that typically has no tornadoes.

Top wind speeds ranged from 50 to 80 miles an hour as the line of storms and high winds moved from west to east across the state of Iowa Wednesday night.

The National Weather Service says December 15 also set the record for the most hurricane force thunderstorm wind gusts in a day, 55. Hurricane force wind gusts are 75 miles per hour or higher. Fifty-five is the most reports since the National Weather Service started tracking the stat in 2004.

The previous record was set on a day Iowans remember well, August 10th, 2020, during the derecho, that barreled across Eastern Nebraska into Iowa with 70 to 80 mile per hour winds, and reached a top wind speed of 140 miles per hour by the time it hit the Cedar Rapids area.

The Governor's disaster proclamation makes money available for home and car repairs, clothing and food replacement, and temporary housing expenses.

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