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Climate Adaptation

Windstorm Hit Central U.S. With Force of a Category 2 Hurricane

  • Gusts reached 97 mph in parts of Nebraska as storm swept by
  • Powerful winter storm may have been a destructive derecho

The winds that raked the Great Plains and Midwest hit with the force of a hurricane as the perfect confluence of events brought a second wave of severe weather to the central U.S. within a week. 

The system, which formed over the Pacific Ocean and dropped 5 feet (1.5 meters) of snow in California earlier this week, gained strength as it crossed the Rocky Mountains, then roared with stunning speed across the prairie. In Nebraska, winds reached 97 miles per hour, the equivalent of a Category 2 hurricane on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale, according to the National Weather Service.