Yesterday in Cedar Rapids, IA we witnessed a massive, destructive thunderstorm known as a “derecho”. These are severe thunderstorms that are sustained traveling very long distances, pack winds in excessive of 80 mph, and are accompanied by torrential rains and hail. I watched the storm approach us. The lead cloud structure had a very recognizable bow, became very dark and the sky behind it was a very eerie emerald green hue. As it approached you could literally hear the wind behind it. It wasn’t a roar like you have heard about tornadoes approaching, but more a hissing sound. When the winds came, I estimate they lasted at least 20 minutes and I have never seen trees whip like they did during that time. Fortunately, I came out with no damage, but that is not the experience of many, many others in the city. The city is now experiencing flooding, but thankfully nothing like the destructive 2008 flood, which the city continues to slowly recuperate from.
I posted the photo below to Twitter shortly after I shot it. It hit the ABC and WGN twitter accounts and became a warning sign for Chicagoans as they prepared for what would hit them about 5 hours later.