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Defining a "Derecho"

12/10/2021 (Permalink)

Up here in Western New York, we don’t hear the term “derecho” too much. But that doesn’t mean that this weather phenomenon can’t affect us.

The word “derecho” is Spanish, and translates to “straight ahead.” A derecho is defined by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as a “widespread, long-lived windstorm that is associated with a band of rapidly moving showers or thunderstorms.”

National Geographic defines derechos as “walls of wind made up of several thunderstorms” that “can blow across hundreds of miles in just hours.”

Pretty scary, right? Luckily, we don’t have to deal with derechos too often in Western New York. They’re more common in the central United States. That doesn’t mean they don’t sometimes pass through. In 2012, for instance, a derecho traveled 700 miles from Ohio to the Atlantic coast, tearing up cities and causing 22 deaths.

Hopefully, though, we don’t see another derecho that destructive for a long, long time.

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