Historic December severe weather & wind event for Iowa

Weather Blog

Iowans are waking up to see tree branches down, Christmas lawn decorations and trash cans blown over, some trees fallen, and more serious damage including homes and barns wrecked scattered about the state. Dozens of storm reports, high wind gusts measured and a few tornado reports are coming in the day after our severe weather event on Wednesday. All except for two counties (in far Northwestern Iowa) had severe thunderstorm warnings at some point in the night.

Satellite and Radar Loop – Dec. 15, 2021 4 PM to 8 PM

This storm system broke records with the highest number of hurricane force (75+ mph) thunderstorm wind gusts in the US in one day since the records on this started being kept in 2004. Many of these gusts occurred in Iowa on Wednesday.

Tornado reports and sightings were focused in Western and Northwestern Iowa. The National Weather Service will be surveying damage in Guthrie, Audubon, Cass, Webster and Wright Counties today. 9 tornado reports came in over the course of the evening.

More wide spread effects were felt from strong wind gusts. These wind gusts occurred before, during and after the severe storms.

Here is a list of highest wind gusts, from both storms and non-storm events in the last 24 hours.

AUDUBUN PWS                  88 MPH    0511 PM 12/15   CWOP 
DECATUR CITY                 83 MPH    1000 PM 12/15   IADOT                
MASON CITY AIRPORT           83 MPH    0653 PM 12/15   ASOS                 
OTTUMWA REGIONAL AIRPORT     82 MPH    0753 PM 12/15   ASOS                 
DENISON AIRPORT              81 MPH    0455 PM 12/15   AWOS                 
MARSHALLTOWN AIRPORT         81 MPH    1039 PM 12/15   ASOS                 
JOHNSTON-NWS EMPLOYEE PWS    80 MPH    0830 PM 12/15   CWOP                 
LAMONI AIRPORT               77 MPH    0815 PM 12/15   ASOS                 
ADAIR PWS                    76 MPH    0512 PM 12/15   CWOP
DES MOINES INTL AIRPORT      74 MPH    0823 PM 12/15   ASOS                 
FORT DODGE AIRPORT           74 MPH    0600 PM 12/15   AWOS                 
GREENE PWS                   73 MPH    0527 PM 12/15   CWOP
AMES AIRPORT                 70 MPH    0609 PM 12/15   ASOS                 
CRESTON AIRPORT              70 MPH    0555 PM 12/15   AWOS                 
2.7 W DOW CITY (UPR)         70 MPH    0446 PM 12/15   MESOWEST     

Before the storms hit on Wednesday, many record high temperatures were broken for the month of December. Des Moines saw an all-time high temperature for the month when we hit 74 degrees. That blows out the previous record high of the month of 69 degrees on Dec. 4, 2017.


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