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Brutal windstorm tears through Midwest

by Lynde Langdon
Posted 8/10/20, 06:54 pm

A rare weather phenomenon called a derecho swept across Nebraska, Iowa, and parts of Wisconsin and Illinois on Monday, causing extensive damage with 100 mph winds. The storm knocked over trees, flipped vehicles, caused widespread property damage, and left hundreds of thousands without power as it moved into Indiana and Michigan. The powerful gusts knocked down the steeple of a church on the Wheaton College campus in Illinois. Workers were rescuing people from damaged cars and houses on Monday, but officials initially reported no fatalities.

What are derechos? Northern Illinois University meteorology professor Victor Gensini described them as “self-sustaining amoebas of thunderstorms,” and Patrick Marsh of the National Weather Service compared them to inland hurricanes. This one formed when supermoist air over the northern plains cooled and sank to the ground, forming strong winds. Derechos occur at least once per year in the Midwest, but this one was one of the strongest in recent history.

Dig deeper: From the WORLD archives, read Daniel James Devine’s report on how a “super derecho” affected Midwest farms during a severe drought.

Editor’s note: WORLD has updated this report since its initial posting.

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Lynde Langdon

Lynde is a WORLD Digital’s managing editor. She is a graduate of World Journalism Institute, the Missouri School of Journalism, and the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Lynde resides with her family in Wichita, Kansas. Follow Lynde on Twitter @lmlangdon.

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