Did you not hear about the Category 3 hurricane in Iowa? You're not alone.
There is a lot going on in the world right now—a pandemic, an election, back to school (or not), and tons of celebrity news. So, it really is no surprise that no one really noticed that there was an actual inland hurricane last week in Iowa that killed four people and caused mass destruction. That's just not big news when social media stars and reality television personalities are wearing bikinis, hooking up with each other, and getting haircuts, I guess.
Last week, on August 10, 2020, a rare and incredibly destructive inland hurricane devasted areas of the Midwest, leaving hundreds of thousands of people without power as it ravaged through Iowa and surrounding states. Weirdly enough, the story was largely left uncovered by big media outlets, making it a huge journalism fail.
Cedar Rapids, Iowa, took one of the biggest hits from the derecho, which is a line of intense and powerful thunderstorms that move very quickly and form a line, turning into a landlocked hurricane. The storm packed a punch equal to a category 3 hurricane, and although thunderstorms had been on the radar that day, there was little to no warning the storm was about to get as bad as it did. This one had winds up to 110 miles per hour and lasted several hours.
Three people in Iowa and one person in Indiana were killed by the storm, which experts say stretched over 1,000 miles, from South Dakota to Ohio. One woman was hit by a tree as she sat on her porch; another person was killed by a flying tree while on a bike. The damage to crops and grain storage silos was insurmountable; it is estimated that tens of millions of bushels of grain storage was lost.
Thinking about those in the farming community tonight. This is just a sampling of many cornfields across Iowa after the derecho moved through today. Absolutely devastating. #IAwx pic.twitter.com/PDwhNJUD7L— Tyler Roney (@TylerJRoney) August 11, 2020
Over 1,000 homes in Cedar Rapids alone are no longer habitable, like this one:
Hospitals in several states had a rush of patients, with injuries suffered; in fact, one Cedar Rapids hospital reported over 250 patients in the ER in 24 hours. People are still without power a week later, their homes and possessions destroyed. The Iowa governor says the destruction in her state is so bad, it is indescribable, and she's declaring emergencies for several counties.
By all accounts, the storm was a major event that left our fellow citizens homeless, jobless, injured, hungry, without clothing, their lives simply wrecked and in dire need of help. Yet, the help has been excruciatingly slow in coming, and the media coverage (other than local) has been minimal at best.
Here's what other people on Twitter have been reporting:
Going on night 5 of no electricity and so much work left to be done all around #ia01 ... Some signs of hope from a parade of @alliantenergy trucks to gas available for generators, but so much help still needed and we won’t stop fighting for it. #derecho2020 pic.twitter.com/bguoL5IXOb— Abby Finkenauer (@Abby4Iowa) August 15, 2020
In just minutes, Monday's derecho caused damage to 10 million acres of Iowa farms. Billions of dollars is estimated to have been lost from the destruction of the state's corn crop. pic.twitter.com/WZe4XuUfNa— The Weather Channel (@weatherchannel) August 12, 2020
The Derecho here on Mon was described as a 40 mile wide tornado. worst weather-related destruction on record for Iowa. State of emergency has been declared. ntl guard is coming in.stateworking on gathering damage assessments 2expedite a request 4 a Pres. Disaster Declaration pic.twitter.com/DCJyd39a8l— miss millie guns (@MissMillieGuns) August 14, 2020
Watching the wildly destructive Derecho storm slam the Midwest— Steve Jurvetson (@FutureJurvetson) August 14, 2020
...from 22K miles up. Captured by the NOAA GOES-16 satellite with Lightning Mapper: https://t.co/6EDCoFGtCh
Winds of 112 MPH were recorded in Iowa. pic.twitter.com/YuokPHqHD3
A week after the derecho moved through the state, Iowans are still struggling with the natural disaster's immediate fallout. https://t.co/rokVnfh5qB— Esquire (@esquire) August 18, 2020
How does something like this happen in America and not get major coverage? It seems like any other time this would have dominated the news cycle, however, it seems to have gotten lost in the shuffle. This is a failure of both our country and the field of journalism.
Those affected by the storm are hurting and need help. Federal aid has been promised, and state and local authorities are working to get people safe and start repairing the damage. There are several campaigns on GoFundMe, The Red Cross is taking donations, United Way is helping and raising money and donations, and the Corridor Community Action Network is posting information and ways to help in specific communities on Facebook daily. The Iowa Derecho Storm Resource Page on Facebook also has tons of information on how to get help and who needs it.
As the nation battles COVID-19, something like this is the last thing we expect or need, and this is the time to step up and help if you can. If you know of any other ways to help, please share them in the comments. Our hearts go out to those affected by this terrible storm.