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Severe Storms Tear Across Iowa, Leaving More Than 400K Without Power

Severe storm systems swept across Iowa on Monday, downing trees and snapping power lines, tearing roofs off buildings, leveling grain silos and leaving more than 450,000 Iowans without power as of Monday afternoon.

With heavy bands of rain and powerful wind gusts, the storm battered central Iowa, leaving behind widespread damage, before marching east towards the Quad Cities and on to Chicago.

In some communities, major streets were left impassable, covered by low-hanging power lines and uprooted trees, many of them decades-old sentinel oaks or elms. The storm crushed cars, toppled semis, and leveled farm outbuildings.

The storm event is considered a derecho, a system made up of a wall of dangerous winds and rapidly moving showers, which can produce damage similar to that of tornadoes.

In Luther, grain silos were crumpled like tinfoil. In Newton, portions of the walls and the roof were peeled off what was the old Maytag building, now Legacy Plaza, which had been restored and renovated in recent years. In Des Moines, the roof of the Buccanneers hockey arena was partly shorn off. At the Test Iowa site in Cedar Rapids, a tent had collapsed and equipment trailers were turned on their sides. The storm even brought down the phone lines at the National Weather Service offices in the Quad Cities.

Communities across Iowa saw hurricane force winds, reaching as high as 100 miles per hour in Cedar Rapids, according to the Weather Service. Winds upwards of 90 mph were also reported, including in Blairstown, Van Horne, Marshalltown, and Des Moines.