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Dealing with the Derecho Damages

A derecho is a rare storm that many refer to as a land hurricane. It means “straight ahead” in Spanish. On August 10, 2020, a derecho swept through the midwest from South Dakota to Ohio, traveling 770 miles in just 14 hours.

According to the Washington Post, over 1 million homes lost power due to the storm. Its winds averaged 100 miles per hour — the highest recorded was 112 miles per hour in Iowa. The winds were reportedly strong enough to flip tractor-trailers over, caused major damage to homes and flattened crops.

The Globe Gazette, based in Washington Mason City, IA, reports,

“Preliminary USDA estimates are that 3.57 million acres of corn and 2.5 million acres of soybeans were severely damaged by the storm in 36 of Iowa’s hardest-hit counties, with millions more acres affected to varying degrees.”

It’s no question that this derecho caused a lot of damage. After it passed through, our team went out to do what we do best here at Ag Access: collect some data! We went to Iowa to get to the root of what was really happening.

Corn is thin with shredded leaves and shorter than average height for current growth stage, as if sheared off on the top of all plants.



We visited a random selection of pre-determined GPS locations and performed what is called ground truthing, which is verifying what the satellite imagery is showing with on the ground/in person observations. After in the field verification of the satellite data, we expanded our use of the satellite data knowing that it is accurate.

Some fields were completely bent over, while others were found stripped, broken or shredded.


After traveling to over 30 different fields, we categorized the damage. The graph below shows the break out of what we saw, including the fields we went to in order to verify no damage picked up via satellite.

While Iowa was seemingly hit the hardest by the storm August 10th, the damages were widespread across the midwest. While we came across multiple fields that were 100% damaged, the range and type of damage varied.

Have you been affected by the derecho storm? How are you dealing with the damages? Let us know how you’re doing in the comments below.

As always, if you are a professional in the agriculture industry and interested in becoming a part of the Ag Access community, check out our member’s page here to learn more about applying.

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