What's a Derecho?

Friday's Event is Called a Derecho

By Jason Meyers, Meteorologist

Credit: Cole Trammell

Friday's Event is Called a Derecho

July 3, 2012 Updated Nov 23, 2013 at 12:43 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) - Clean up continues from June 29's round of storms. Between now and then, there have been quite a few terms thrown around describing it. "Land Hurricane" and "Super Derecho" are just a couple. These are just made up terms trying to describe the end result.

Believe it or not, there is an official name for this type of event. It's called a Derecho. These are extremely rare weather events with very specific criteria. The last time one hit our area was July 11, 2011 and June 18, 2010. Before those, you'll need to look back farther than a decade.

To be categorized as a Derecho, the event must contain 240 miles or more of significant wind damage AND include wind gusts of at least 58 mph.

In this case, the line of storms traveled 450 miles in 6 hours, giving it an average speed of 75 mph. At the height of this event, wind gusts were ranging between 70 and 80 mph. The highest wind gust was 91 mph reported at the Fort Wayne airport. Because of these strong, straight-line winds, a Derecho can cause more widespread damage than some tornado outbreaks. After all, the 91 mph wind gust at the Fort Wayne airport is something you'd see in a Category 1 Hurricane.

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