On the night of June 29, 2012, people of the Mid-Atlantic experienced a very strong and intense storm system called a derecho. The storm caught many people off-guard because it passed through the area very quickly. The derecho started as a small cluster of thunderstorms in Iowa and created a path of destruction all the way to the East Coast during the following twelve to fourteen hours.
A derecho is a continuous, massive storm with strong, damaging winds that stretches across many states. To be classified as a derecho
, a storm must travel a minimum of 240 miles, and have sustained winds of at least 58 miles per hour. The derecho that hit the Mid-Atlantic states on the night of June 29, 2012 affected 8 states. The strongest wind speed of 91 mph was recorded at Fort Wayne, Indiana. Thousands of people were left without power, and 20 people lost their lives. Local grocery stores lost refrigerated items because of the inability to keep the items at a safe temperature during the extended power outages.
Many people in the Mid-Atlantic hadn’t heard the term derecho before this event occurred, even though the last significant derecho was June 4, 2008. This wasn’t an ordinary storm because storms like these do not hit this area very often; in fact, a derecho is recorded about once every two to four years. This means, the Mid-Atlantic region is overdue for its next derecho.
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ⓒ2017 Meteorologist Brandie Cantrell