Powerful derecho flattens corn fields weeks before harvest

Farmers are surveying the damage to their crops in Iowa, Illinois and Indiana after a powerful line of severe storms blew through the region on Aug. 10.

Video Transcript


BILL WADELL: Howling wind, huge hail, and flying debris did a number on cornfields across the Midwest.

- And this one is completely bent over. This one is also bent over below the ear.

BILL WADELL: Members of Iowa State University Extension and Outreach finding countless cornstalks bent and snapped by the wind.

- This stuff that's broken off basically has no hope right now of recovering whatsoever. So it's just gonna be drawing down from here on out.

CODY HALLING: Getting to Perry, I was like, oh, everything was pretty flat. And going through town, it looked like a war zone.

BILL WADELL: The derecho raced across the Midwest, traveling more than 700 miles in 14 hours. Farmers and their neighbors, hopeful that some of the damaged corn in Iowa could recover and stand back up or still be harvested.

CODY HALLING: It'll be lodged. It'll be difficult to combine. But at least it won't be completely flat on the ground.

DALE MOHLER: And it really went through the heart of the Corn and Bean Belt. Illinois and Iowa are the two biggest corn-producing states in the country.

CODY HALLING: AccuWeather senior commodity forecaster Dale Mohler says this summer's corn crop was looking better than average, until the storms rolled through.

DALE MOHLER: For the US as a whole, it's not gonna destroy things. But individual farmers that got hit the hardest-- if you were in those 90 or 100 mile per hour plus gusts, it's really hard to recover. And I wouldn't doubt if there's, you know, hundreds of acres in places in certain counties that are wiped out.

BILL WADELL: A setback for farmers already working through a challenging year in the middle of a pandemic, now cleaning up from hurricane-force winds.

- It's just completely unbelievable. It's totally taking my breath away looking at it.

CODY HALLING: Yeah, having a hurricane in Iowa was kind of one of those things you didn't think would happen. 2020-- you don't know what's coming next.

BILL WADELL: For AccuWeather, I'm Bill Wadell.

- --right now, but I'm--