Derecho barrels through northern Plains, Midwest injuring at least 4
Before severe weather swept through the area, ominous green skies loomed over Sioux Falls, South Dakota, on July 5.
A line of powerful thunderstorms, dubbed a derecho by the Storm Prediction Center (SPC), barreled across parts of the northern tier of the United States on Tuesday, leaving thousands without power, causing extensive damage and leaving at least four injured.
In total, the SPC received 284 reports of damaging winds and hail, most of which came from the derecho in South Dakota and Iowa. A derecho is a storm complex that causes damage continuously or intermittently for 400 miles or more along a 60-mile-wide-or-more swath, according to the Storm Prediction Center (SPC).
Derechos have caused extreme damage in the U.S. A recent notable example is a derecho that caused widespread destruction across Iowa in August 2020, decimating fields of crops with wind gusts up to 140 mph.
The damaging wind gusts from Tuesday's derecho took down powerlines across the Midwest and as of Wednesday morning, over 36,000 customers were still without power in Indiana and Ohio, according to PowerOutage.US.
The top wind gusts were reported northwest of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, in the town of Howard, when a 99-mph wind gust was observed. According to a South Dakota Department of Transportation roadway weather information sensor, wind gusts of 70 mph or higher were sustained for roughly 20 to 30 minutes.
In northern Iowa, a storm chaser captured the moment the winds blew a semi-truck off the road. In the video shared by KCCI, a local television station, the semi-truck can be seen blowing down the road before coming to a stop, jack-knifed on the left side of the road.
According to the journal Science, the U.S. Corn Belt, one of the most extremely fertile regions on Earth, is located in the Great Plains. More than 10 million bushels of corn are produced there every year. When damaging storms plow through the area, there can be significant damage to the crops grown in this region.
A derecho moves from South Dakota to Illinois on July 5, 2022.
According to a video on social media, the winds from Tuesday night's storm flattened cornfields across South Dakota.
As the storms approached Sioux Falls, the sky became engrossed in a greenish hue amid reports of strong winds and hail. More than 3 inches of rain fell on portions of Sioux Falls during the storms.
According to storm reports from the SPC, just outside of Charlotte, North Carolina, in Earl, four people were injured when a tree fell on two vehicles, causing an accident. According to the 911 call, the large tree limbs trapped the passengers in the vehicle.
Aside from the destructive winds on Tuesday, flooding rainfall was the more significant threat for many in the Midwest. As multiple rounds of heavy thunderstorms moved over the same locations in a process known as "training," rainfall totals were able to rise quickly for an extended period of time.
Some of the highest rainfall totals were in Indiana. As of late Tuesday night, over 6 inches of rain had been reported in Fort Wayne, with a maximum of nearly 8 inches in Huntertown.
The rain was coming down so hard in Wessington Springs, South Dakota, which is northwest of Sioux Falls, that one person described it like they were "in a car wash."
A tornado hit the Ohio town of Goshen, in the suburbs of Cincinnati, during the early afternoon hours Wednesday, leaving behind "a direct hit" to the local fire station, as well as damage to other buildings in the area.
While derechos and summer thunderstorms may not often become prolific hail producers, there were a handful of large hail reports across the northern Plains. Just south of the North Dakota border, in Timber Lake, South Dakota, reports of 4-inch-sized hail, roughly the size of a grapefruit, were shared on social media.
Radar image of the storms approaching Sioux Falls, South Dakota, on Tuesday, July 6. (AccuWeather radar)
Ryan Deal, a writer for 605 Sports, a local news company, shared photos on Twitter of the giant hailstones that caused extensive damage, causing car windows to shatter and siding on one home to break.
Additionally, hail the size of a grapefruit was also reported in Agate, Nebraska, and Promise, South Dakota.
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