DES MOINES, Iowa — Crop loss estimates from a rare wind storm that slammed Iowa in August have increased by more than 50%, a new report shows.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said Friday that the number of crop acres that Iowa farmers are unable to harvest has grown to 850,000 (343,983 hectares) from estimates last month that 550,000 acres (222,577 hectares) were lost, The Des Moines Register reported.

The storm, known as a derecho, generated winds of up to 140 mph that flattened crops. The damage then was compounded in late summer with a drought that, at its peak, encompassed much of the state. The drought is again expanding after some September rainfall.

A cornfield damaged in the derecho is seen on the Rod Pierce farm near Woodward, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)


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By Steve Gravelle, correspondent

“I’m a lot more worried now than I was in March or April, when I thought things might last a few months,” said Connie Adams, co-owner of Pawsitive Paws Academy.

“Now I think it’s going to be the middle of next year.”

Already hard-hit by the coronavirus pandemic, Adams and other small business owners in the Corridor are trying to come back from the added challenges of the Aug. 10 derecho storm.

“Business is slow, unfortunately, but we’re going to push through,” said Michelle Kline, owner of the Potter’s Obsession. “We have our holiday season coming up and we’re not sure how it’s going to go.”

The local resurgence of COVID-19 cases already had prompted suspension of in-person programs at the Eastern Iowa Arts Academy.

“We decided the safest thing was just to close down,” said David Griffin, co-executive director of the not-for-profit that provides programs

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