It's hard to believe, but it's already been a week since that unexpected derecho hit us here in Iowa. A lot has happened over the course of the last seven days, but I don't think anyone will ever forget where they were when everything went down on August 10th, 2020.

Last Monday afternoon, I was in the middle of an 8-hour drive back to Iowa after my week-long trip to see my family in Michigan. I was about 3-hours away from home, somewhere in Illinois, when I saw the sky go dark. I hung up the phone with my mom, only to call her back a few minutes later when the rain started to fall. I immediately knew something bad was about to happen because the rain wasn't falling straight down in front of me, it was SWIRLING. I kept her on the phone, just in case something happened to me.

I continued to drive, despite the branches blowing across the highway, because I was too scared to pull over next to the line of trees. Luckily, I was only a couple of miles away from a rest stop. I pulled in and waited for the storm to pass, trying to calm down my anxious, whining dog as the car rocked back and forth in the wind. That's when I got a phone call from Brain, telling me how bad the storm impacted his home in Marion. I frantically tried to get ahold of my neighbor so I could find out the fate of my house, but service was incredibly spotty. She was eventually able to contact me and let me know that our properties seemed to be ok, but I had to wait to see the full extent of the damage. I was absolutely shocked when I finally reached Cedar Rapids. Mount Vernon Road looked like a war zone and the neighborhoods near downtown were unrecognizable. I'm just thankful I was able to make it home safely.

We took to Facebook today to ask listeners about their derecho experiences. Where were you and what were you doing when the storm hit? Here are some of the responses:

  • Adriane Carstens Gordon - "Splash Pad in Hiawatha with my 6-year-old, mom, aunt, and her 7-year-old grandson. We took shelter in the bathroom. Spent 45 mins holding the door shut because the latch was broken. My son was crying, he was scared, and all I wanted to do was hold him, but I knew if I let go of the door it would go and then the walls. The walls were going in and out. Thought for sure the walls would go and we’d be hiding in a stall."
  • Cassidy Cook - "I had just left to drop off my wedding dress at the cleaners, drop off tuxes, and leave on our honeymoon! Trees started dropping like flies around us so we went home and waited it out in our basement. It was a wild and crazy first week of marriage."
  • Alicia Jacobs - "I was working at Edgewood Rd Hy-vee. Everyone was in the back storeroom dairy cooler. Our neighbor called and told me that my hubby and kids could go to their house; a tree had just fallen on our house. The most terrified I had ever been, and I had been deployed to Iraq."
Alicia Jacobs
  • Tara Casey Toll - "My family and I were out to lunch at Boulder Taphouse at Lindale. It was my mom and nephew's birthday. My husband is a lineman and was on a storm in NY and called to tell me it was going to be bad. I brushed it off and we just sat down to eat. We did get our food, though. We sat through the dark and ended up with a free meal. Then trying to get home, it should've been 20 mins, but it took over an hour. I was scared to see what we'd come home to from all the messages I was getting from my neighborhood. Our backyard stuff is gonezo, but damage is fairly minimal. Living in a newer neighborhood with baby trees definitely benefited us here."
  • Dana Blackford - "I was working the clubhouse at Twin Pines Golf Course. Watched for a bit out the window until a 40-foot pine tree landed on our truck. Then the roof started to lift off the clubhouse and we ran to the bathroom. We lost a partial section of the roof, many trees, and a couple of vehicles, but everyone was ok! Scary for sure!"
  • Kylie McDermott - "Painting at Potter's Obsession with my 3-year-old daughter. Had family text me to get home so we attempted. Couldn’t make it and had to pull in to Aldi on Blairsferry Road and run inside quickly. I will now be a frequent customer there with how amazing they were with my daughter and keeping everyone calm and safe!"
  • Joey Notch - "I was on a service call working on a customer's combine in his machine shed. We went in the house for lunch right before the storm. Went back out afterward and the machine shed was gone."
Joey Notch
  • Pete Caspers - "Robins Quarry, rode it out in a loader."
Pete Caspers
  • Austin John - "Ironically, I was installing shingles on a roof in Manchester, only to get a call from my girlfriend saying our roof was gone and ceilings collapsed. I immediately left and it took me 2.5 hrs to get home. Got home to find my girlfriend and dogs (Kona & Sage) were okay. Our roof was ripped wide open and ceilings had collapsed along with severe water damage throughout the entire main level and basement."
Austin John
Austin John
  • Lyndsey Marie - "I was at Hy-Vee in the middle of grocery shopping with my 3-week-old. As I was in the middle of paying, the power went out, the ceiling tiles started crashing down, and we were rushed back to the cooler for 45 minutes, and then spent another 15 minutes in the bathrooms waiting out the storm. It then took us 45 minutes to travel back home (4 blocks) due to downed power lines and trees."
  • Alisha Young - "I was at work, Francesca's at Lindale Mall, and heard no sirens. The power went out and the vent outside my store came crashing down and that’s when I could hear the wind. I could see glass breaking and see water pouring from center court. I was on the phone with my son, who watched our neighbor's roof fly off his house into our yard."
  • Rachel Jones - "Standing in my house, extremely thankful that the tree in my front yard that went down first missed my tiny car."
Rachel Jones
  • Tonya Dostal Kahler - "Where was I? Walking my mail route in Cedar Hills. SW side. A nice customer saved my life, I believe. I heard the sirens. Kept going, Because it didn't look bad. A customer met me at the door when I put her mail in the box. "You have about 10 minutes, honey. Then there will be 90 mph winds." I thought, well, ok. Got to my mail truck in about 5 mins and drove about 5 mins looking for shelter. The storm was beginning!!! The gas station lot was full, so I kept going to the post office. I got stopped at a light and my truck was ROCKING! Had to pull my emergency break. As I pulled into the P.O. we lost power, but I did make it unharmed. I took cover with a few other postal workers, carriers, and customers in the women's bathroom. It lasted a really long time."

Do you have a story to share? Photos are encouraged! Please leave them in the comments below!

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