NOAA Environmental Visualization Laboratory
On August 10, 2020, NOAA’s GOES-East satellite tracked severe thunderstorms as they raced across much of the Midwest and caused a widespread, fast-moving windstorm called a derecho. According to the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center, the derecho traveled from far southeastern South Dakota into Ohio—a distance of about 770 miles—in a span of 14 hours.
The high winds were reportedly so strong that they flipped or blew some tractor-trailers off roadways, downed trees, flattened crops, and caused widespread property damage. Across the Upper Midwest in Iowa, Illinois, and Indiana, more than 1 million homes and businesses lost power. In Iowa, where gusts reportedly topped 100 mph, the damage was even more severe; the highest wind speed recorded there 112 mph near Midway.
When I still was on the road out here in the Southwest, I saw one of these suckers coming just as I was leaving Amarillo, Texas, heading back home. Turned around in a New York minute and made it back to the last motel west of town and got into the office to register for the night…just in time.