Ashton Kutcher lambasted President Donald Trump for failing to send federal aid to to Iowa after it was devastated by an intense derecho, resulting in the deaths of three people.
The Cedar Rapids native took to Trump’s favorite social media channel to demand that the federal government ‘wake up’ and help those impacted by the intense land storm.
‘Where is the federal relief for Iowa? 10m acres of crops have been destroyed. Houses. Communities. Wake up federal gov,’ Kutcher declared in his Friday tweet. ‘What because it’s not called a tornado or hurricane you don’t need to act fast? Come On!!’
The land hurricane, known as a derecho, caused a wind gust of 112 mph (180 kph) just north of Des Moines, placing the storm at the strength of a category 3 hurricane. The extensive damage to power lines, buildings and crops was because the winds were prolonged.
At least three people in Iowa and one in Indiana were killed, including a bicyclist on a trail and a woman sitting on her front porch – both struck by trees.
Earlier in the week, the Two and a Half Men actor shared that his own family was impacted by the storm and criticized the federal government for not acknowledging the ‘disaster.’
President Trump had acknowledged the storm in a Tuesday tweet and claimed that the federal gov’t was working in ‘close coordination’ with state officials.
On Friday, Gov. Kim Reynolds announced that she expects a federal disaster declaration by Monday.
‘Sad to see the damage from the derecho in Midwest. 112 mile per hour winds in Midway, Iowa! The Federal government is in close coordination with State officials,’ Trump said in his tweet. ‘We are with you all the way – Stay safe and strong!’
The actor directly tweeted Trump and shared with him a variety of photos showing the damage that took place in the area.
Under his post, several Iowans shared their own photos and videos of the carnage from the derecho.
Kutcher responded to a few tweets, insinuating that Trump did not care for Iowa because it did not have that many electoral votes – the state has six for the 2020 election.
‘Cool tweet,’ one person said in response to one tweet. ‘Crops are dying and people don’t have electricity.’
Kutcher also slammed Vice President Mike Pence, who had campaigned in Iowa on Thursday, demanding that he ‘do something.’
The derecho caught farmers in fields, bicyclists on trails and travelers on highways – unaware that a series of thunderstorms that had formed the night before in South Dakota had picked up strength as it moved across Nebraska.
Forecasters had predicted thunderstorms and in some communities, tornado sirens sounded 20 to 30 minutes before the winds began. But for many people, there was no sense that the day would be different from any other muggy Monday in August.
Scientists say it’s difficult to give advance warning about a derecho because, unlike a more distant hurricane forming over the ocean, its formation is not readily apparent.
Even had forecasters provided warnings, it’s not clear it would have made a difference. Thunderstorms and tornadoes are common in the Midwest, and many residents are desensitized to severe weather warnings.
‘Severe thunderstorms in general need to be taken seriously,’ Patrick Marsh, chief of science support at the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma, said. ‘Severe thunderstorms can be just as dangerous to a person as a derecho can be to a series of communities, but we don´t think about severe thunderstorms in that regard.’
The National Weather Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are working on tools that would assist forecasters in making predictions that consider a range of possibilities.
In the future, a forecast for the next day might say that a thunderstorm is a likely scenario, with a chance for a derecho given the right conditions, Marsh said.
Scientists now believe Monday’s derecho traveled 1,000 miles from South Dakota to northwest Ohio. It appears the storm began picking up strength in Nebraska, gaining power as it moved across Iowa before weakening as it approached Ohio.