Derecho or no? Monday evening storm causes widespread wind damage

Classifying the storm system as a major Derecho in the Midwest
Published: Aug. 11, 2020 at 5:18 AM EDT
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What classifies some storm systems derechos and others simply thunderstorms? Wind and size.

A derecho is a very long lived, damaging thunderstorm. Wind damage typically extends 240 miles or greater and has severe wind gusts of +58mph along most of the length of the storm’s path.

When most people think about winds within a thunderstorm, they think tornadoes. Despite this common train of thought, there are far more damage reports from straight-line winds than from tornadoes. Straight line winds come from thunderstorms without the presence of rotation.

According to the National Weather Service, the occurrence of a derecho is divided into two possible seasons; the warm season and the cool season. 70% of all derechos happen in May, June, July, or August.

Storms on Monday night produced winds of more than 100 mph in some cases as they moved through Iowa and Illinois.

“Numerous fires from power lines that have come down and remain energized,” the Chicago Fire Department tweeted Monday afternoon.

Clean-up efforts continue in Michiana where a possible tornado touched down near Wakarusa.

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