Derecho Clean Up Begins in the Midwest as Wildfires Race Across the West

Aug 21, 2020  | 3 min  | Ep4601

Two hurricanes are converging on the southeastern United States. Any winds in the storms over 130 miles per hour will elevate those hurricanes to category four.

Straight line winds of the same speed blasted portions of middle America last week. As wind speed estimates have risen so have damage totals.

John Torpy reports...

Those traveling on the Midwest crop tour got an eyeful of storm damaged corn and beans where record crops were expected to grow. 
In Iowa, the state hardest hit by last week’s derecho, state officials spent the week tallying damage totals and securing assistance for recovery efforts. 
Sec. Mike Naig, Iowa Department of Agriculture: “I've seen a lot of devastation. I've seen a lot of weariness. Um, this is just something that we didn't need on top of an already difficult situation. The damage is widespread, and the damage is real. I've walked in fields that are absolutely laying flat. I've walked in fields that are half flat and corn is leaning over it. Harvest is going to be a great challenge for folks.”

According to the Iowa Department of Agriculture, the derecho storm touched close to 60 counties with 36 severely impacted. In all, 3.5 million acres of corn were damaged or destroyed while 2.5 million acres of soybeans were rolled over by the severe storm. The total number of acres affected by last week’s storm is now brushing 14 million.  
Grain storage also took a hit as the rare weather event pummeled grain bins. State of Iowa officials estimate 57 million bushels of stored grain at co-ops across the Hawke state have has been compromised. Hundreds of millions of yet to be harvested bushels headed for on-farm storage may need to find a new home. 
The storm did not discriminate as urban areas were impacted as well. The city of Cedar Rapids, population 130,000, endured wind speeds of 140 miles per hour. After the storm moved through, 98 percent of the city was left without power.
 With calculated losses in hand, Governor Kim Reynolds crafted a disaster declaration and asked President’s Trump for nearly $4 billion to help with recovery efforts in the Hawkeye State.
President Donald Trump:” Yesterday I signed a disaster declaration for the state of Iowa…” 

Mid-week, President Trump stopped in Cedar Rapids to speak with local and state officials about the devastation received from the derecho
Farther west, a heat wave brought severe lightning storms to northern California, sparking numerous wildfires in the Bay area. As many as 11,000 lightning strikes sparked more than 300 fires. The flames moved across five counties near the Napa and San Joaquin Valleys. As the week progressed, the small fires converged into two massive blazes that have scorched over 370,000 acres or roughly 580 square miles. According to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, several smaller fires that have already claimed tens of thousand acres continue to burn across the state.
For Market to Market, I’m John Torpy 

Contact: torpy@iowapbs.org

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