Disaster recovery expert weighs in on how long it takes to rebuild from a derecho

Elyse Smith Image
Tuesday, May 21, 2024
Expert weighs in on how long it takes to recover from a derecho
Thursday's deadly storms are now classified as a derecho, a rare event. But the question now is how long it takes to recover from such a storm.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Tuesday was the fifth day in a row for cleanup and recovery efforts after powerful storms swept through Southeast Texas last Thursday evening. These storms are now categorized as being part of a derecho, a rare occurrence for this part of the country.

Derechos are common across the Midwest and Great Lakes, with the last major derecho event in recent memory occurring in August 2020, impacting Iowa, Illinois, and Indiana, among other states.

SEE ALSO: How to get help from FEMA if you were impacted by last week's destructive storms

With that in mind, ABC13 Meteorologist Elyse Smith spoke to Cari Cullen with the Center for Disaster Philanthropy. Their group has experience helping people recover from disasters like derechos, specifically the Midwest Derecho that occurred on Aug.10, 2020. With many across the greater Houston area still recovering from damage and even without power, ABC13 wanted to learn how long it could take for communities to fully recover from a disaster like this.

Cullen said that it took some neighborhoods up to two years to fully recover after the storm, but for most, it was over the course of a few months.

SEE ALSO: 1st Houston storm-related lawsuit alleges failures after deadly crane collapse

"I think people are often surprised at what that timeline can look like," Cullen said, as he noted the compounding implications caused by not having power or structural damage to a home.

A derecho is a big, long-lived storm system specifically known for bringing widespread strong winds. By definition from the National Weather Service, a derecho has to have a wind damage swath extending more than 240 miles and include wind gusts of at least 58 mph or greater along most of its length.

SEE ALSO: Deadly Houston windstorm estimated to have caused $5B to $7B in damage, AccuWeather tells ABC13

The Center for Disaster Philanthropy is a nonprofit that helps bring together resources for communities impacted by disasters across the country and around the world.

For more on this story, follow Elyse Smith on Facebook, X and Instagram.