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NASA Research Helps Quantify Derecho Damage

NASA, University of Oklahoma, NOAA Storm Prediction Center, National Weather Service & the Iowa Environmental Mesonet
NASA, University of Oklahoma, NOAA Storm Prediction Center, NWS & Iowa Environmental Mesonet
A team of NASA researchers used this satellite & radar imagery to help officials in Iowa better understand the effects of a derecho that ripped through the state in August.

New, high-tech images from satellites and radar are helping farmers, insurance companies, and scientists learn about the severity and scope of damage from last summer's derecho.

NASA's analysis of the extreme wind storm will also help scientists learn about severe weather all over the world.

Michelle O'Neill talks with Kris Bedka, the leader of the NASA research team. He's a storm expert at the agency's Langley Research Center in Virginia.

Credit submitted / NASA
Kris Bedka, a storm expert and meteorologist at NASA's Langley Research Center in Virginia

NASA Meteorologist Kris Bedka, who grew up in the Chicago area, was keenly interested in radar images he saw the morning of August 10th.

He called a friend in Cedar Rapids and told her to watch out. Bedka's interest led to the analysis of detailed images recorded throughout the derecho which started in Nebraska, ripped through Iowa and Illinois, and ended in Indiana.

He and his colleagues evaluated several types of images.

For example, a satellite called, "GOES-16" recorded images of tall, cold clouds in the stratosphere that drove the extreme bursts of wind.

Other images show how crops were defoliated and where hail fell. The August 10th derecho caused damages around $7.5 billion, one of the most costly severe thunderstorms in US history.

Bedka says he and other scientists take advantage of the abundance of radar and satellite imagery in the US. But it's not available in other parts of the world. But this analysis should help them learn more about storm prediction and recovery in the future all over the world.

Officially, Michelle's title for 28 years was WVIK News Editor. She did everything there is to do in the newsroom and whatever was needed around the radio station. She also served as Acting News Director from September 2023 - January 2024.
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