A powerful storm that brought high winds to a wide swath of Iowa and surrounding states has been labeled the most expensive thunderstorm in modern history and the second costliest weather event of 2020.
According to figures released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the derecho’s $7.5 billion – and climbing – price tag puts it atop the severe storm category tracked by the agency since 1980. The storm is second only to Hurricane Laura, which ripped through southwestern Louisiana and parts of Texas in August and resulted in $14 billion in damages thus far.
The derecho spread from South Dakota to Ohio, but primarily impacted Iowa as it traversed a 770-mile path over 14 hours. NOAA cited the “widespread damage to millions of acres of corn and soybean crops across central Iowa” and “severe damage to homes, businesses and vehicles particularly in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.” The storm also produced 15 tornadoes in northeastern Illinois.
Aside from damage to crops, the derecho also destroyed grain storage facilities on farms and at commercial facilities in the storm’s path, leaving many producers struggling to find an outlet for their crops as harvest progresses in the state.
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