One year later: Derecho’s deep impact on Iowa

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DES MOINES, Iowa — Tuesday marks one year since a derecho ripped across the state of Iowa.

This devastating thunderstorm caused the most damage in Cedar Rapids, where debris clean-up is still underway. 

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources said that the derecho was one of the most damaging and expensive storms the country has ever seen, costing nearly $12 billion in recovery efforts and claiming the lives of four people. 

According to the American Farm Bureau Federation, the derecho caused over $490 million in crop damage. 

Statewide, Iowa lost four million trees. A report from Iowa DNR said Iowa lost the power from these trees to impound 23,000 tons of carbon, remove 335 tons of air pollution, cut energy use by $7.7 million, and curb $6.8 million in emissions.

Iowa DNR is at the replanting phase, but State Forester for Iowa DNR, Jeff Goerndt, said it will be a while before the state completely recovers.

“A lot of the trees we saw that were heavily damaged were older trees, and it’s gonna take 30 to 60 years probably for these new trees that are planted to give us the benefits that those larger trees did,” Goerndt said. “But it’s important that we go out and we replant these areas. We take care of our trees and prepare them for future generations.” 

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