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Powerful storm leaves 2 dead, heavy crop damage in Midwest

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Hundreds of thousands across the Midwest remained without electricity on Tuesday after a powerful storm packing 100 mph winds battered the region a day earlier, causing widespread damage to millions of acres of crops and killing at least two people.

The storm known as a derecho tore from eastern Nebraska across Iowa and parts of Wisconsin and Illinois, blowing over trees, flipping vehicles and causing widespread damage to property and crops. The storm left downed trees and power lines that blocked roadways in Chicago and its suburbs. After leaving Chicago, the most potent part of the storm system moved over north central Indiana.

In Iowa, Gov. Kim Reynolds said early estimates indicate 10 million acres have been damaged in the nation’s top corn producing state and many grain bins were destroyed. That would be nearly a third of the roughly 31 million acres of land farmed in the state. The most significant damage is to the corn crop, which is in the advanced stages of development nearly a month away from the beginning of harvest.

“This morning I had a farmer reach out to me to say this was the worst wind damage to crops and farm buildings that he has ever seen across the state in such a wide area,” Reynolds said.

Satellite imagery shows extensive crop damage through about one-third of the center of the state from east to west.

“It’s incredibly devastating to see what’s happening to crops, and to structures all across the storm path,” Iowa Agriculture Secretary Mike Naig said.

Naig said tens of millions of bushels worth of commercial grain storage and millions of bushels of on-farm grain storage has been damaged or destroyed.

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