A deadly derecho swept across the Midwestern United States on Monday evening, killing at least one person in Iowa as it caused major damage along its path and knocked out power to hundreds of thousands of people. It's not over yet, either — another line of severe storms is on its heels.
Winds exceeded 80 MPH multiple times as the destructive windstorm pounded cities from western Iowa to Indiana. As of 9:35 PM Central Time, the Storm Prediction Center received 196 reports of wind damage, the worst of which occurred in Iowa as the storm reached its peak.
The winds were so strong near Marion, Iowa that they demolished barns and punched in grain silos as if they were soda cans. There was also a report of a collapsed building near Cedar Rapids, Iowa, killing a man who was trapped in the rubble.
The storm also destroyed countless acres of cropland, mowing down 7-foot-tall corn fields as the derecho's wall of wind raced in at more than 70 MPH.
The storms moved towards Milwaukee and Chicago around rush hour and caused more damage, including structural damage as well as significant tree and power line damage. More than 100,000 people lost power in southeastern Wisconsin due to the storms, and more than 60,000 were without power as of 8PM in northern Illinois.
To make a bad situation worse, more thunderstorms developed behind the derecho and began training — a line of storms repeatedly moving over the same spot like a train on tracks — leading to a major flash flood situation across much of eastern Iowa. Radar estimates show that more than 6 inches of rain fell in just a few hours over some spots west of Davenport:
Roads quickly filled up with water and crews had to conduct numerous water rescues across the area.
As the derecho continues east into Indiana and Michigan, another line of severe storms formed in its wake, this time pushing further south into northern and central Illinois. Cities along, south, and east of a line from Chicago to St. Louis to Kansas City will see strong winds and possibly a tornado or two from this developing line of storms, which could pack winds of more than 60 MPH.
The storms should reach the Chicago around between 9 and 10PM Central Time, with arrival times later for areas further to the southwest.
The Storm Prediction Center is responsible for issuing severe weather forecasts and severe weather watches, while your local National Weather Service office is responsible for issuing warnings for your location.
[Images via Gibson Ridge, GOES, and Dubuque Scanner]