Weather Word of the Day — Derechos

I like unusual words, and I’m a weather geek, so this item about rough weather overnight and this morning in the Quad-City Times caught my eye:

The system created a 60-mile-wide path of destruction, starting out in Omaha and pushing through to Chicago, said Linda Engebretson, meteorologist with the National Weather Service. “It’s something we call a ‘derecho,’ which is a Spanish word for straight ahead,” she said.

The most severe damage appears to be on the Illinois side of the river, she said. Muscatine, Iowa, also had significant damage.

“You can see very tornado-like damage. But because of the damage pattern, it’s straight-line winds. It’s a very extreme system that causes a lot of damage,” she said.

I’ve never heard of a derecho, until today. Wikipedia has this to sayabout derechos:

A derecho (from Spanish: “derecho” meaning “straight”) is a widespread and long-lived, violent convectively induced straight-line windstorm that is associated with a fast-moving band of severe thunderstorms usually taking the form of a bow echo.

Derechos blow in the direction of movement of their associated storms, similar to a gust front, except that the wind is sustained and generally increases in strength behind the “gust” front. A warm weather phenomenon, derechos occur mostly in summer, especially July in the northern hemisphere. They can occur at any time of the year and occur as frequently at night as in the daylight hours.

 The photo shown above is from NOAA’s derecho page, where you can find lists of infamous storms. Just proves you can learn something new every day. Although I’m suddenly craving Doritos.

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