Satellite-Based Characterization of Convection and Impacts from the Catastrophic 10 August 2020 Midwest U.S. Derecho

Jordan R. Bell, Kristopher M. Bedka, Christopher J. Schultz, Andrew L. Molthan, Sarah D. Bang, Justin Glisan, Trent Ford, W. Scott Lincoln, Lori A. Schultz, Alexander M. Melancon, Emily F. Wisinski, Kyle Itterly, Cameron R. Homeyer, Daniel J. Cecil, Craig Cogil, Rodney Donavon, Eric Lenning, Ray Wolf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The catastrophic derecho that occurred on 10 August 2020 across the midwestern United States caused billions of dollars of damage to both urban and rural infrastructure as well as agricultural crops, most notably across the state of Iowa. This paper documents the complex evolution of the derecho through the use of low-Earth-orbit passive-microwave imager and GOES-16 satellite-derived products complemented by products derived from NEXRAD weather radar observations. Additional satellite sensors including optical imagers and synthetic aperture radar (SAR) were used to observe impacts to the power grid and agriculture in Iowa. SAR improved the identification and quantification of damaged corn and soybeans, as compared to true-color composites and normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI). A statistical approach to identify damaged corn and soybean crops from SAR was created with estimates of 1.97 million acres of damaged corn and 1.40 million acres of damaged soybeans in the state of Iowa. The damage estimates generated by this study were comparable to estimates produced by others after the derecho, including two commercial agricultural companies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E1172-E1196
JournalBulletin of the American Meteorological Society
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2022


  • Agriculture
  • Derecho
  • Lightning
  • Remote sensing
  • Satellite observations
  • Societal impacts

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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