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Severe Weather Awareness Week: Derechos

Published: Mar. 17, 2021 at 4:59 PM EDT|Updated: Mar. 17, 2021 at 5:00 PM EDT
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(WHSV) - We continue our series with the power of derechos, the most severe of thunderstorms. So what characteristics does a derecho have versus ordinary severe storms?

Derechos are an event that are hard to forget and are often mistaken for tornadoes. Derechos are long-lived severe storms that bring classified as a derecho if it travels more than 250 miles producing damage, often with winds above 80 miles an hour.

In fact, with a severe derecho in Iowa last year, a wind gust was recorded at 140 miles an hour. Derechos deliver straight line winds at extreme measures. You may remember the June 29, 2012 derecho.

“It wrecked havoc on the electrical distribution grid... it smashed trees, power lines,” said one witness of the event.

That day, nearly 1200 reports were sent in for wind gusts of hurricane level strength which is greater than 74 miles an hour. 22 people lost their life in the June 2012 derecho with 2.9 billion dollars of damage as the derecho traveled 800 miles. These types of extreme severe storms happen on average every three to four years in our area but just not at the magnitude we saw in June of 2012.

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