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Where to even start? Monday, August 10, somewhere around 12:30 PM, eastern Iowa got hit with a storm like no one had ever seen before. Technically known as a “derecho”, this storm brought 100+ MPH straight line winds along with torrential rain. 45 minutes later Cedar Rapids was transformed into a disaster zone. No one had power. Everyone had trees down, most of them on houses or cars, on power lines and across streets. As if 2020 wasn’t bad enough already…

I was working from home when the storm hit. Bouncing between the basement for safety and the upstairs so we could see what was going on, we were horrified at the storm, and then we started hearing things crashing. Then the house shuddered as a limb landed on it. When things cleared and we could go outside, we found a complete mess. Our huge locust tree in the front yard split down the middle, with the near side falling between the house and driveway. (The car in the driveway was spared, hallelujah.) The neighbor’s oak tree snapped in two and half of it lay across our front yard. The shared oak tree on our property line only dropped one limb, but it fell across the corner of the house, damaging the roof and some plaster inside.

In the backyard we lost a big limb from other other locust tree, lost most of our apple tree, and have the top half of the neighbor’s pine tree laying on our chain link fence. (And also on the power line.)

We’ve spent the last two days cleaning up branches and debris, scrounging the region for gas for the generator, and making temporary repairs. Nearly everyone in this city of 150,000 people has similar and worse damage. It’ll be months and years to get things repaired. It’ll be days if not weeks just to get power back on.

Tonight we’re trying to coax the cooler outside air into the house after it got to 85F outside today (81F in the house), listening to the generator hum, and catching up with the outside world. Blessedly, our internet line stayed up and we still have service from our ISP. Tomorrow morning a friend is coming with chainsaws at 8 AM and we’ll keep cleaning up. One day at a time is about all I can handle thinking about right now, anyway.


  1. […] the Friday after the Iowa derecho. What a week. After the devastation of the storm, the cleanup began. Monday night I had friends here to get the limbs on the ground and […]

  2. […] in mid-August, a week before school was set to start, the derecho hit. We were 11 days without power. And almost every school building in the district was damaged. The […]

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