On Monday, a rare weather event called a derecho hit Cedar Rapids, Iowa. “This derecho has damaged almost every property in a city of more than 130,000 people,” said Elizabeth Malicki, news anchor at KCRG in Cedar Rapids. Malicki wonders why the national press has ignored this story.
On Monday afternoon, Aug. 10, a rare weather event called a derecho hit Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and the surrounding area with wind speeds exceeding 112 miles per hour, like Category 2 hurricane.
“This derecho has damaged almost every property in a city of more than 130,000 people,” said Elizabeth Malicki, news anchor at KCRG, Gray’s ABC affiliate there. “And this disaster touched at least 20 counties in Iowa. The magnitude of this is wild.”
According to reports, the derecho destroyed 10 million acres of Iowa’s corn crops.
But you’re forgiven if you haven’t heard about all this. Because outside Iowa, this story hasn’t really been reported. “This is because the national news has largely ignored our disaster,” Malicki said.
And she thinks that’s part of the problem as the area tries to recover.
Malicki tweeted her complaints about the lack of national attention and as they say, they went viral.
I talked to Malicki at her station about her tweet and conditions there. She had just driven into the station from a hotel out of town, as her house is damaged and has no power. She’s hearing that power may not be restored to the area for weeks.
Malicki said a derecho is a “rare weather event.” And that according to the National Weather Service, this derecho was not your garden variety kind.
“The National Weather Service are the experts and they said, ‘wow, you don’t just have a derecho, you have a text book derecho on a metro-populated area with old established trees.”
Malicki said that when the derecho reached “its peak damage capabilities, it narrowed and intensified right over our county.”
So why does Malicki think the national press has ignored this story? And what difference would it make if it got national attention?
“Because when the national news doesn’t pay attention, neither do the decision makers,” wrote Malicki in her tweet.
“We’ve experienced natural disasters before. During the flood of 2008 the National Guard was here, the president did a tour by sky, the future president did the same. FEMA came to town and people from other states sent help. None of that is happening so far here. And I’m getting worried none of that critical assistance is going to show.”
Malicki said after the 2008 flood, a FEMA official told her “thanks for showing the damage, the more you show, the easier it is for us to be called in.”
And as to why very little national press coverage? You guessed it, Covid 19.
Malicki said Ginger Zee, ABC News’ chief meteorologist, saw her tweet, and normally, “she would come there and stay there and cover it but she can’t travel due to COVID.”
“I’m still not prepared for the damage before me. It’s hard to process,” said Malicki.
Click here to read the entire Malicki tweet, which she subsequently posted to Facebook.
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