Everything you need to know about the August 10 derecho



Without much warning, a devastating derecho hit Iowa and other Midwestern states with high winds on August 10, 2020.

Here is a timeline of the storm, its aftermath, and the cleanup process.

The derecho itself

“The derercho was not in the forecast,” said Justin Glisan, Iowa state climatologist.

The storm system began in the early morning of August 10 in southern South Dakota, he said. At 8 or 9 a.m., it crossed the Iowa / Nebraska border and severe thunderstorm warnings were issued.

Glisan hoped the storm system would hold up and bring relief to the extremely drought-stricken midwestern part of Iowa. However, near Carroll, Iowa, the storm “hit a very unstable atmosphere, and that’s where it exploded.”

Glisan recalls: “For me in Des Moines in particular, I knew it happened about an hour and a half before it happened. We didn’t expect it to be this bad until about half an hour before it hit Des Moines. The National Weather Service issued a rare alert calling the storm system a “particularly dangerous situation.”

Map of estimated wind speed during Iowa derecho

Photo credit: Justin Glisan

As the storm swept through Iowa, it grew considerably stronger. The precipitation and wind intensified as he walked east.

In total, the storm lingered for 14 hours and traveled 770 miles from southern South Dakota to western Ohio.

The derecho ‘devastating destruction

After the storm passed, millions of acres of damaged crops, crumpled grain warehouses and destroyed buildings were in its wake.

Lee Lubbers, of Xtreme Ag, operates farms in southern South Dakota, where the derecho first formed. His farm was hit by hail, but “overall we feel lucky,” he says.

Oregon, Illinois, farmer Dan Luepkes reported scattered corn and green wort after derecho. “This took our top of the line out of certain fields with high yield potential,” he explains.

Kelly Garrett, also of Xtreme Ag, operates a farm near Arion, Iowa, and traveled to Pontiac, Ill. Shortly after the storm. The widespread damage was unlike anything he had ever seen, he said.

Farmers Business Network claims that 15% of their members in Iowa said 50% or more of their corn had been planted.

The Iowa Department of Agriculture estimates that 3.5 million acres of corn and 2.5 million acres of soybeans grown in an area of ​​36 counties have been the hardest hit.

Crop damage is so widespread that it can be seen in satellite images, shown below. The lighter green areas were directly hit by strong winds. Brown areas indicate metropolitan areas.

Map of wind damage in Iowa

Photo credit: Justin Glisan

“The severity of the damage varies from field to field, but some acres are a total loss and it will not be possible for farmers to harvest them,” Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig said.

Leroy Kline farm near Brooklyn, Iowa, halfway between Des Moines and Cedar Rapids. He was in his farm shop when the storm hit. The gusts were so strong that the rain blew under the pavement and entered the store. “It was a pretty tough situation for about 30 minutes,” he says.

Much of his corn crop is lying down. What little remains is tattered and bruised. When he spoke to Successful Farming on August 19, he was waiting for news from his insurance adjuster to determine what can be done with the ruined crop.

Derecho damaged corn outside of Williamsburg, Iowa

Photo credit: Natalina Sents

Iowa State University Extension Field Agronomist Meghan Anderson spoke to Successful Farming from a farm field in Boone County, Iowa. She has been to several injured fields and sees everything from plucked and pinched corn to the lodging of the roots.

“So late in the growing season, there is no more growth for the corn to do, so there isn’t much it can do in that it tries to straighten up or straighten up towards the sun. . What we see today, we will probably only see them come down from here, ”she explained.

Pro Farmer Crop Tour participants were shocked at the severity of crop damage. A fermented or sour smell was starting to emerge from some of the fields where the corn stalks were broken and the corn kernels littering the ground were starting to spoil, scouts said.

In addition to the harvests in the field, grain storage throughout the region has been significantly damaged. Early estimates indicate that more than 57 million bushels of permanently licensed grain storage have been severely damaged or destroyed in Iowa. Co-ops in central and east-central Iowa estimate it will cost more than $ 300 million to remove, replace or repair damaged grain storage elevators.

Storage of grain on the farm was also lost in the storm. Based on a survey of their members on the way to derecho, Farmers Business Network estimates that 50 to 75 million bushels of bin space owned by farmers in Iowa will be unusable for the 2020 harvest season.

Resources and recovery

Derecho victims can benefit from a number of USDA assistance programs. “Our agricultural producers provide Americans and consumers around the world with such abundance that it is essential that we stand by their side in the face of disasters such as the derecho that devastated so many in the heart of America,” he said. said Bill Northey, USDA Under Secretary for Agricultural Production and Conservation.

On August 18, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds and other heads of state met with President Trump to discuss the effect of the derecho on farmers, landowners and businesses. “We’re going to help you recover from the storm, and we will and we will do it together,” Trump said.

On August 20, President Trump approved Reynold’s request for funding under FEMA’s Individual Assistance Program for Linn County.

“The disaster assessments for the other requested counties are underway,” the governor’s office said in a statement. Reynolds had also requested individual assistance funding for Audubon, Benton, Boone, Cass, Cedar, Clarke, Clinton, Dallas, Greene, Grundy, Guthrie, Hardin, Iowa, Jackson, Jasper, Johnson, Jones, Linn, Madison, Marshall , Muscatine, Polk, Poweshiek, Scott, Story, Tama and Washington counties.

Iowa derecho victims in these counties may be eligible for the Iowa Individual Assistance Program. This program offers grants of up to $ 5,000 for households with incomes not exceeding 200% of the federal poverty line or a maximum annual income of $ 43,440 for a family of three. Grants are available for home or car repairs, replacement of clothing or food, and temporary housing expenses. The grant application and instructions are available on the Iowa Department of Social Services website. Potential applicants have 45 days from the date of the proclamation to submit an application.

Trump’s declaration of disaster for Iowa also made FEMA’s public assistance program available for public infrastructure repair or replacement and debris removal in 16 counties: Benton, Boone, Cedar, Clinton, Dallas, Jasper, Johnson, Jones, Linn, Marshall, Muscatine, Polk, Poweshiek, Scott, Story and Tama.


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