The National Weather Service now says the storm system that pushed across the Dakotas and Iowa Tuesday evening was a derecho.

Winds were clocked at 70 to 80 miles an hour in Iowa. National Weather Service Meteorologist, Kristy Carter says wind speed is just one factor that determines a derecho. “To be classified as a derecho it has to go through a certain process — you need the same system to be more than 240 miles in length so it’s not something that you’re going to be classified until like after the fact,” she says.

Meteorologists say derechos aren’t that uncommon across the Plains and Midwest. The one most noted by Iowans hit Cedar Rapids in 2020. That storm has winds of 140 miles an hour and caused billions of dollars in damage to buildings, trees, and crops. It left thousands of people without power for weeks. A derecho also hit Iowa in December of 2021, causing a lot of damage.

Governor Kim Reynolds did issue a disaster proclamation Wednesday for Emmet, Hancock, O’Brien, and Winnebago counties in response to Tuesday’s storm. The governor’s proclamation allows state resources to be utilized to respond to, and recover from, the effects of this severe weather. It also activates the Iowa Individual Assistance Grant Program for qualifying residents, along with the Disaster Case Management Program, for the four counties.

Contact your local community action association or visit to find out more about the assistance that is available.