With various deployment assignments streaming into our Eberl operations over the course of this past week, an influx of questions from curious adjusters seeking clarity on this specific kind of weather occurrence has accompanied them.
In the interest of ensuring our network of claims professionals are well-informed and up-to-date on industry terminology, let’s discuss what a “derecho wind storm” is before diving into the details of how one of these storms laid bare extensive damage across the central U.S. recently.
The National Weather Service defines a derecho as “a widespread, long-lived wind storm that is associated with a band of rapidly moving showers or thunderstorms. Although a derecho can produce destruction similar to the strength of tornadoes, the damage typically is directed in one direction along a relatively straight swath. As a result, the term “straight-line wind damage” sometimes is used to describe derecho damage. By definition, if the wind damage swath extends more than 240 miles (about 400 kilometers) and includes wind gusts of at least 58 mph (93 km/h) or greater along most of its length, then the event may be classified as a derecho.”
The word “derecho” actually means “straight” in Spanish! This meaning is a key differentiating factor when comparing a derecho to a tornado or hurricane.
Now that we have a clearer understanding of the textbook concept of a derecho, it’s clear to see the real-life impact these rare types of thunderstorms can have when reviewing what happened in the Midwest early last week.
At least three people were left dead and many more are working to recover from the derecho that in its wake, spanned multiple states and destroyed thousands of properties.
According to AccuWeather, last week’s derecho “covered a nearly 800-mile stretch of the U.S. over the course of 14 hours”.
USA Today reported that more than 600,000 people were without power after the storm tore through the region on Monday and that “Iowa was especially hard hit, as the potent windstorm devastated the state’s power grid and flattened valuable corn fields”.
Iowa’s Governor, Kim Reynolds, informed the media that an estimated 10 million acres of crop was destroyed – making up one-third of Iowa’s production. In addition, tens of millions of bushels of grain that were stored at co-ops and on farms were damaged or destroyed as bins blew away. Her office is currently seeking almost $4 billion in federal disaster relief aid.
As Eberl continues to deploy adjusters to the affected area, we stress the importance of keeping our company’s promise to partners and their policyholder front-of-mind. This means providing expertise these customers can depend on, empathy during every interaction, and efficiency at every level of service.
Please don’t ever hesitate to contact our skilled support team any time you need assistance. We’re always here to help!
As an additional resource and if you’re interested in a more detailed explanation of this phenomenon that includes information regarding how to prepare for the impacts of a derecho, check out this Frequently Asked Questions page provided by the NOAA-NWS-NCEP Storm Prediction Center.