The August Iowa derecho is now the costliest thunderstorm in history. The thunderstorm ‘decided’ it wanted to evolve to take the form of what is known as a derecho as we woke in the mid-morning hours of Monday, August 10th. We are re-writing weather history. So let us dive in.

United States Department of Agriculture

According to Wikipedia, the derecho lasted about 14 hours, over a half a day of widespread impacts. It swept through 770 miles of land, traveling on average 55 miles per hour (770 ÷14 = 55), from Nebraska to Ohio, with Iowa catching arguably the worst of it. We opened the entire grab bag of severe weather types:

  • The strongest wind that was officially recorded in Atkins, Iowa at 126 mph.
  • The strongest estimated wind was 140 mph in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
  • 21 tornadoes were officially reported.
  • Hail up to 2″ in diameter fell over Freeport, Illinois.


$7.5 Billion

This event is now in The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) database of billion-dollar disasters. Preliminary estimated damages averaged 7.5 billion dollars (±2.8 billion dollars at 90% confidence). This is the second-highest billion-dollar disaster this year, following the $14 billion price tag attached to Hurricane Laura, which also happened this August.


4 people died directly due to the derecho. It is not just about dollars and cents. But human life has value too.

A woman was killed when high winds tipped over her mobile home in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

2 confirmed dead by Poweshiek County Emergency Management. One Malcom woman in her 40s was killed when a tree fell on her porch and one Brooklyn man in his 40s, a city employee and electrician, killed by electrocution from a downed power line he was attempting to repair.

The Linn County Sheriff’s Office confirmed a 63-year-old man who died from a falling tree while biking.


Add This To The Growing List

The August Iowa derecho is now the costliest thunderstorm in history. But it is far from painting the full picture. Because we have everything from hurricanes… and wildfires… and even droughts to run up the 2020 bill to over a billion bucks.

In 2020 (as of October 7), there have been 16 weather/climate disaster events with losses exceeding $1 billion to affect the United States. This ties the record (with 2011 and 2017). The frequency of billion dollar weather disasters appears to be increasing 5% per year.

Courtesy NOAA


Weather costs a lot of money and it is only getting more expensive. It may be wise to invest your time and money to stay ahead of it. So contact us for your weather needs by clicking the Praedictix link below because we offer multiple weather-related services.

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Praedictix Meteorologist Joe Hansel