08/21/2020

Dealing With The Aftermath Of Iowa’s Devastating Derecho

12:17 minutes

a bunch of downed trees and power lines in front of a row of houses.
Downed power lines in Cedar Rapids after the intense storms, taken August 18. Credit: U.S. Air National Guard

state of science iconThis segment is part of The State of Science, a series featuring science stories from public radio stations across the United States. Read a story by Iowa Public Radio’s Kate Payne about the refugee families seeking shelter after the storm.


It’s been more than a week since the state of Iowa was hit by a surprise visitor: a line of thunderstorms with unusual power and duration, known as a derecho. The storms swept from South Dakota to Ohio in the course of a day. At its most powerful, the derecho hit Iowa’s Linn County and surroundings with hurricane-force winds amid the rain. Crops like corn and soybeans were flattened, while thousands of homes were damaged—if not completely destroyed. 

Ira talks to Iowa Public Radio reporter Kate Payne and University of Northern Iowa meteorology professor Alan Czarnetzki about the devastating effects and unpredictable power of last week’s storm.


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Segment Guests

Kate Payne

Kate Payne is a reporter for Iowa Public Radio in Iowa City, Iowa.

Alan Czarnetzki

Alan Czarnetzki is a meteorology professor at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

Segment Transcript

The transcript for this segment is being processed. It will be posted within one week after the episode airs.

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About Christie Taylor

Christie Taylor is a producer for Science Friday. Her day involves diligent research, too many phone calls for an introvert, and asking scientists if they have any audio of that narwhal heartbeat.

About Ira Flatow

Ira Flatow is the host and executive producer of Science FridayHis green thumb has revived many an office plant at death’s door.

Explore More

Refugee Families Find Shelter After Iowa’s Derecho

After days of sleeping in tents, cars, and on the ground, refugee families in Cedar Rapids have moved to temporary housing and received much needed aid.

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