Powerful storm causes widespread damage across the US Midwest

Winds gusting up to 160 kilometres per hour left a path of destruction.

    Storm known as a Derecho lasted several hours as it tore from eastern Nebraska across Iowa and parts of Wisconsin and Illinois [AP]
    Storm known as a Derecho lasted several hours as it tore from eastern Nebraska across Iowa and parts of Wisconsin and Illinois [AP]

    A rare storm with power similar to a hurricane swept across the US Midwest uprooting trees, tossing vehicles, and causing widespread property damage.

    More than a million homes and businesses were left without power on Monday as it moved through Chicago and into Indiana and Michigan.

    The storm, known as a Derecho, lasted several hours as it tore from eastern Nebraska across Iowa and parts of Wisconsin and Illinois.

    Patrick Marsh, science support chief at the National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma, told reporters, "Wind speeds measured that of a major hurricane, and likely caused more widespread damage than a normal tornado."

    Marsh went on to compare the event with the devastating Super Derecho of 2009, which was one of the strongest on record and travelled more than 1,600km (1,000 miles) in 24 hours, causing $500m in damage and widespread power outages, and killed several people.

    In central Iowa, several people were injured and widespread property damage was reported in Marshall County, as 160km/h winds (100mph) swept through the area.

    Across the state, large trees fell on cars and houses and vehicles were blown over and off highways.

    On Monday night, Cedar Rapids in eastern Iowa issued a 10pm curfew that was set to continue until further notice as crews worked to clean up fallen debris.

    The National Weather Service reported a wind gust of 148km/h (92mph) in northern Illinois, near Dixon, a town 160km (100 miles) west of Chicago, and the storm left downed trees and power lines that blocked roadways in Chicago and its suburbs.

    After clearing Chicago late afternoon, the most potent part of the storm system moved east over central Indiana, until eventually weakening during Monday night.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies