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After a tornado, a severely damaged wind turbine in Iowa is captured by a drone.

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Following last week’s derecho and severe weather event, which included over a dozen tornadoes across the state, drone footage has shown major damage to a wind farm in eastern Iowa.

A video that Christopher Sherman took on May 25th, near Cedar Rapids, at the Pioneer Grove Wind Farm in Mechanicsville, shows the magnitude of the destruction. The wind turbines are severely damaged in this video, with several of them appearing to have fallen or been severely damaged.

This year, Iowa has seen the greatest amount of tornado activity nationwide, which is rare for the Hawkeye State. On May 24, 16 tornadoes were reported by the Quad Cities National Weather Service (NWS).

The four strongest tornadoes, with maximum speeds of around 110 mph (EF-1), happened at Coyne Center, Illinois; Delta, Iowa; Wellman to Frytown, Iowa; and Bennett to Lowden, Iowa. Although the Mechanicsville tornado was not rated by NWS storm survey teams, new studies show that wind turbines can endure wind speeds of up to 120 mph before they become unstable. This was made clear on May 21 when an EF-4 tornado passed over Greenfield, Iowa, resulting in the collapse of multiple turbines.

Since the outbreak on March 31, 2023, this severe weather event has produced the greatest number of tornadoes in a single incident for the region. The derecho was a long-lived, broad complex of severe thunderstorms that produced wind. It stretched from central Nebraska to northwest Illinois and shown the ability to spawn multiple tornadoes over its lifecycle.

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