December 15th Derecho Brings New Single-Day Tornado Record for Iowa

DES MOINES, Iowa -- The National Weather System is marking a new record of 43 tornadoes to touch down in Iowa in a single day, after adding more than 12 tornadoes to last week's derecho that swept across the state.

"Along this line of storms as it was pushing across the state, there were a number of areas that looked enhanced--like they had some rotation--and after the event we hadn't received reports. In the days that come afterwards, we start to receive damage reports," says National Weather System Meteorologist Brooke Hagenhoff.

She says the number of tornadoes on December 15th goes well past the previous single-day record.

"The previous record for number of tornadoes in a single day was 35 set on August 31st, 2014. We've definitely flown past that number," Hagenhoff says.

She says the nature of last week's weather system made it hard to tell exactly what caused some of the damage.

"We also had the winds behind it (the derecho) that were pushing 60, 70, and in some cases 80 miles-per-hour not with the thunderstorm. In that case we have to analyze if it's tornado damage or damage from the winds that came behind the storm," Hagenhoff says.

Hagenhoff says the number of tornadoes could change as they continue to study last week's storm and the damage it caused.

The National Weather Service says the same derecho produced 27 in Nebraska--a number they say could increase as more storm study is done.

Image from National Weather Service, Johnston, IA

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