Potential derecho sweeps across eastern Iowa; knocks out power to hundreds of thousands

Blown away trampoline. By Joe Corman

A powerful storm system, believed to be a derecho, swept through parts of Iowa today with recorded wind gusts of up to 99 miles an hour.

At the height of the storm, more than 400,000 customers across Iowa were without power. The number had dropped by half by mid-afternoon. Muscatine Power and Water had all but about 150 customers back on by 3 p.m.

A derecho is a widespread, long-lived wind storm associated with bands of rapidly moving showers or thunderstorms variously known as bow echoes, squall lines, or quasi-linear convective systems, according to the National Weather Service.

Although a derecho can produce destruction similar to that of a tornado, the damage typically occurs in one direction along a relatively straight path.

The storm toppled trees and tossed trampolines in Muscatine. Shannon Ballenger shared video of tree limbs being snapped at Greenwood Cemetery.

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In Des Moines, the roof of the Buccaneers Ice Hockey Arena was damaged. Hockey lessons were underway inside the building at the time, but no kids were hurt, Radio Iowa reported.

Willow Street off of Park Ave. By Dina Danielson

Roads across the eastern part of the state were impassable due to storm damage, which also impacted communications to digital message boards, so incoming traffic may not be alerted to the closures as they normally would be.

The Iowa DOT recommends limiting travel in impacted areas as much as possible until crews can get out to remove power lines and clear debris.

This story originally appeared on the Voice of Muscatine. Read More local stories here.

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