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Corn Belt Derecho: Iowa Time Machine June 29, 1998

Iowa Time Machine ⏰: On June 29, 1998, many Iowans learned the word ‘derecho’ for the first time as the “Corn Belt Derecho” ripped through the central part of the country to cause widespread crop and property damage.

Arriving in Iowa from South Dakota as a supercell thunderstorm, a strong rear-inflow jet developed. In the early afternoon, a second line of storms developed behind the first to rapidly accelerate the bow echo line across the state's eastern half. The storm soon developed into a progressive derecho.

Straight-line winds on the storm’s gust front reached over 120 miles per hour to level crops and trees. The storm also dropped tennis ball-sized hail in spots and saw the development of several small tornadoes. One F2 tornado in Central Iowa injured 75 people.

Washington, Iowa, recorded the highest official wind speed of the day at 123 mph. The official wind gust speed record in Iowa at the time, it stood for just over twelve years before being broken during the August 2020 derecho. #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar


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