Derecho hammers areas of Western Corn Belt, farmers left to pick up the pieces


Farmers are assessing damage from a derecho that damaged parts of the Western Corn Belt on Thursday.

“All of a sudden it hit and I couldn’t see.  It turned like it was black as midnight.”

Northeast Nebraska farmer Jim Miller tells Brownfield he was planting when a wall of dust quickly closed in. “I turned the lights on the tractor and I couldn’t see 20 feet in front of the tractor. I’ve never seen a dust storm blow in like that before.  It made the whole tractor rock.  I was kind of worried that I was in a tornado even.”

He says there’s extensive damage to building structures, trees and grain storage. “I’ve been hearing some pivots upset in this area.  I’ve seen a lot of destruction to grain bins last night when I was driving around looking at crops. There was some good sized grain bins that it just come right off of the foundation and laying flat on the ground and roofs off the top of a few grain bins.”

Farmer Debbie Borg of Allen tells Brownfield the storm moved through quickly and scattered buildings along roads and in fields. “Within the three minutes, the wall of dust, I could see it,” she says. “It moved really, really fast.”

Northeast Nebraska cattle producer Joan Ruskamp tells Brownfield 80 miles per hour winds ripped up cattle shades and other structures. “Blown over onto the bunk line, onto the cable and we have water lines there, too. That was kind of all mangled up.  A pivot, the end three towers are flipped over.  There’s tin damage and a horse barn that was flipped over.”

She says cattle in the feedlot were mostly unharmed from the storm.

The National Weather Service says the system started in Southern Nebraska and moved northeast causing damage to farms in parts of South Dakota, Iowa and Minnesota.

Jim Miller of Belgin:

Debbie Borg of Allen:

Joan Ruskamp of Howells:

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