Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Storm cluster breeds 'derecho' talk

Update at 2:10 p.m.: The storms are now covering a swath from the N.C.-Virginia border back up through West Virginia. A severe thunderstorm watch has been issued for Virginia and the N.C. northwest mountain counties.

The Storm Prediction Center in Oklahoma says the Piedmont could be placed in a severe thunderstorm watch before long.

The damage reports continue to come in, from southeast Ohio and now from western West Virginia.

Original post: Meteorologists and so-called weather weenies are watching the development today of a thunderstorm cluster that is ripping across the Midwest and barreling toward the Southeast.

The word "derecho" is being used in some quarters.

I've seen a number of different definitions of the word, but the most common use is that a derecho is a long-lived thunderstorm or line of thunderstorms that carries damaging wind gusts.  Typically, a derecho must last for several hundred miles.

I lived through one of those on a July 4 night in the late 1960s near Cleveland.  The storms formed upstream, over Wisconsin, and roared across Michigan, over Lake Erie, and onshore in northern Ohio. They arrived just about the time of the Independence Day fireworks displays, blowing down trees and causing several deaths.

More recently, earlier this month, a derecho ripped across Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia and Maryland, knocking out power for millions of customers. Some people were without power for more than a week in the baking heat that followed.

Today's area of thunderstorms formed in Wisconsin and Minnesota, then grew severe as it pushed across Chicago during the morning commute. As of late Tuesday morning, I've seen dozens of damage reports from Indiana and Ohio. The storms are forecast to push into Kentucky and West Virginia, and then into North Carolina by afternoon or evening.


TC said...

This ought to get Brad Panicovitch turned on, don`t ya think?

Anonymous said...

But I thought the heat wave was OVER and we were REALLY CATCHING A BREAK with all this COOL WEATHER!!!

Anonymous said...

Mr. Hype learned the term "derecho" about three weeks ago. Now he's using it every few days.

Anonymous said...

Who cares.....this stuff always fizzles by the time it reaches the Charlotte area. Wild weather in our area is about as rare as a 30 degree day during a Carolina summer.

Seth Marley said...

@ Anonymous 5:34......Just because the storms didn't hit Charlotte doesn't mean there weren't any out there. There were terrible storms that formed just east of Charlotte that made their way to Raleigh and dropped a bunch of rain. You have to understand that the CO has a much larger coverage area than your house!

Anonymous said...

It's truly amazing how far these storms can travel. On top of that they can literally disappear as we saw last night, then explode when they reached SC. We kind of got skipped.