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December 2021’s serial derecho in Iowa is now considered a $1 billion disaster, according to new data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. That means it cost the country at least a billion dollars in recovery.

The derecho was one of 20 U.S. disasters that totaled at least $1 billion in damages in 2021.

The serial derecho was the final billion dollar disaster of the past year. It also marked the first time in U.S. history a derecho was recorded during the month of December anywhere in the country. Due to the event, the National Weather Service reports at least 61 tornadoes hit Iowa on December 15th. That easily makes it the largest tornado outbreak in Iowa history, an absolutely astounding feat considering the time of year. The storms killed at least one person in Iowa with the fatality occurring in Benton County.

As you can see Iowa has had its share of billion dollar disasters since 1980 with the 1993 floods and 2020 derecho leading the way with damages exceeding 10 billion.

Despite being a significantly larger state, Illinois has never had a year since 1980 where damages have topped more than 6.5 billion

Nationally, since 1980 there have been 310 billion dollar events claiming 15,180 lives

Last year alone, the 20 billion dollar disasters cost 145 billion and took 688 lives.

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Ever notice when it gets super cold, the snow makes that really gnarly hard crunchy sound when you drive or walk on it. The colder it is, the louder the crunch. That distinct sound is the result of ice crystals shattering. Snow, as you know, is water frozen in crystalline form. But when the temperature of the snow is barely below freezing, the crystals are weak and not rigid. The colder it is, the stronger the crystals are, and the more noise they make when crushed. When it is well below zero on a calm night, walk on snow and listen, it's like walking on fine china (if you've ever done that).

If you're out and about early Friday those crystals will be crunching to beat the band with temperatures in some of my NW counties that will be 15 to perhaps 20 below zero. In fact, most of the area near and west of the Mississippi should end up 10 below or colder thanks to light winds and a 1 to 6" snow cover. Where there's pockets of bare ground in some of my SE counties readings will be more in that range of zero to 5 below. The EURO depicts this for temperatures to start the day Friday morning.

Those readings are as much as 40 degrees below normal in parts of central Iowa.

After that frigid start, temperatures should warm with some January sunshine to 10 in the north to about 20 in the far south. Winds will gradually turn in from the south but remain under 10 mph all day and thus wind chills won't be much of a factor.


Saturday some noticeable moderation is expected as highs return to the 20s areawide. Way down south where snow cover is less of an issue a few places may reach 30. Then the focus turns to a clipper which arrives Friday night and departs early Saturday. As of late Thursday night, models are in good agreement that the track of the system sends a surface low over the SE tip of Iowa late Friday night. That generates a snow band that catches roughly the NE 1/2 to 2/3rds of my area. The Quad Cities is just on the southern fringe of the band. The SW third of the region looks to miss out on the action. Moisture content is nothing to write home about temperatures will be cold so the potential is there for a swath of fluffy 1-3" snows (perhaps as much as 4 in a few spots). The snow band is not especially wide so any deviation in track would have an impact on amounts and that will be monitored closely the next 48 hours.

That said, confidence is growing that at least the NE half of my area will do some shoveling and winter weather advisories are a good bet at some point. H