QC Weather History: December 15, 2021 derecho

Published: Dec. 15, 2022 at 8:13 AM CST|Updated: Dec. 15, 2022 at 12:33 PM CST
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QUAD CITIES, Iowa/Ill. (KWQC) - The weather on December 15, 2021 was anything but typical in eastern Iowa and western Illinois.

The day started with sunshine and warm temperatures.

Record highs were shattered in Dubuque, Burlington and the Quad Cities.

If that wasn’t impressive enough, those temperatures tied or broke the all-time warmest December high, going back to the late 1800s.

A strong area of low pressure and cold front brought a line of severe thunderstorms that started in Nebraska, and traversed across the state of Iowa and into Illinois, including most of the TV6 viewing area. 97 out of 99 counties in Iowa were impacted by the derecho.

While there were tree branches that were blown over and power outages locally from 60 mile per hour wind gusts, the damage was much worse west of the viewing area.

This is the aftermath of an EF-1 tornado in Rudd, Iowa, roughly three hours northwest of the quad cities.

The tornado had winds of 110 mph, knocking down power lines, damaging trees and doing major damage to the town’s library.

It was one of 63 tornadoes in Iowa on December 15 the most tornadoes in a single day, any day of the year.

The previous record was 35 back on August 31, 2013. Prior to last year’s outbreak, there had only been five tornadoes during December in Iowa since 1950.

The December 15 derecho was one of 22 separate, $1-billion disasters in 2021.

Other facts about the derecho:

  • It was the first derecho recorded anywhere in the United States during the month of December
  • A moderate risk of severe weather was issued by the Storm Prediction Center, the first moderate risk during the month of December in Iowa
  • Of the 63 tornadoes in the state of Iowa on December 15, 21 of them were EF-2 or stronger; the most in one day
  • There were 120 tornadoes total in Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota and Wisconsin
  • Prior to the Dec. 15 tornadoes, only a total of five tornadoes had occurred in Iowa during the month of December since 1950.