What is a Derecho? (With Timelapse Video)

A quick look at Friday night's storm.

The Friday night storm that claimed two local lives, caused widespread power outages and tore up trees wasn't just a strong thunderstorm. Northern Virginia owes its awe to a specific sort of destruction-causing storm, a derecho. 

What is a derecho? A derecho is a long-lived, widespread windstorm that can produce damage similar to that seen in the aftermath of a tornado, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The windstorm comes with a fast-moving band of thunderstorms and often causes damage in a wide, straight path. 

Friday night's derecho originated in the Chicago area and raced east towards Washington D.C. It left a large path of destruction in its wake. The National Weather Service compiled a list of over 800 weather damage reports from this storm. Click here to see an interactive map of the weather damage reports.

The storm had wind gusts clocked at 91 mph at Fort Wayne Internation Airport in Indiana, 64 mph in Atlantic City, N.J. and 71 mph at Dulles International Airport

Derechos have produced even stronger wind gusts. A May 1998 derecho created a 128 mph wind gust in eastern Wisconsin, according to NOAA.

These storms occur once every 3-4 years in the Washington D.C. area. They are more common in the late spring and summer.

for more storm coverage.

audrey r July 02, 2012 at 03:12 PM
you learn something new every day, how did I get to 84 without knowing this.


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