Wednesday's Storm Brings At Least 21 Tornadoes to Iowa

Photo: National Weather Service

(Des Moines, IA) -- Wednesday's storm brought strong winds and more than a few tornadoes to the state of Iowa.

"After surveys that were conducted Friday afternoon in the state of Iowa, we now have 21 confirmed tornadoes, and we still will have additional surveys that will likely be done via satellite imagery when we get it in," says Alex Krull, a National Weather Service Meteorologist.

Krull says the confirmed number of tornadoes may rise over the next few weeks as the National Weather Service finishes the analysis on the satellite data.

"We still need to work with county emergency managers to determine whether or not we can find a tornado path in that, or if that was just caused by the straight line winds from the thunderstorms that rolled through," says Krull.

Krull says the National Weather Service has yet to determine if a pattern is evident with where tornadoes emerged, or if the sheer strength of the winds brought rotation within the storm. NWS is also evaluating the storm's status as a derecho.

"It's likely that this will be deemed a derecho, mainly because we had a line of storms that moved over 250 miles, produced continuous severe weather, (and had) multiple wind gusts over 75 mph throughout its path," says Krull. "It may be another week before we can make that official, but this will likely be another derecho for Iowa."

The National Weather Service defines a derecho as "a widespread, long-lived wind storm [...], if the wind damage swath extends more than 240 miles and includes wind gusts of at least 58 mph or greater along most of its length, then the event may be classified as a derecho."

August 10th, 2020's derecho cost the United States around $11.7 billion, according to the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration. That storm covered over 770 miles from South Dakota to Ohio, brought wind gusts peaking at 140 mph in the Cedar Rapids area, and left over 400,000 Iowans without power.

Wednesday's storm, not yet declared a derecho, does meet the National Weather Service's standards for one.

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds issued a disaster proclamation for 43 Iowa counties in the aftermath of Wednesday's storm, which left over 148,000 Iowans without power Wednesday night. Wind gusts reached 74 mph in Des Moines and 70 mph in Iowa City.


Radar screenshot of December 15, 2021 storm from National Weather Service.

Photo of storm damaged home from Office of Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds.

Photo: Office of Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds

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