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  • Marshall Armstrong

What the heck is a Derecho?

Have you ever heard of a Derecho? Well, neither did I until I saw a National Weather Service Tweet about it. It is a rare weather phenomenon described as a long lived, widespread windstorm, associated with squall lines or Bow Echos. A squall line is a line of thunderstorms ahead of a cold front and a Bow Echo is when a thunderstorm or line of thunderstorms is seen on radar as bowing out in the direction of travel. The bowing out happens because of high winds.


The term Derecho was first used by Dr. Gustavus Hinrichs in 1888 to differentiate between the straight line winds produced by thunderstorms from the rotating winds of tornados. Derecho is a Spanish word meaning direct or straight ahead. Derechos produce damage from wind gusts above 57 MPH and travel more than 250 miles with isolated gusts of higher speeds.


On June 29th, 1998, a Derecho went from Nebraska to Kentucky, almost 600 miles in about 10 hours. Wind gusts reached 126 MPH and it caused more than $125 million in damages. Here is a link to a Derecho story.


So now we know a new term, and a Spanish word as a bonus!



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