Pharos-Tribune

Opinion

June 27, 2013

WILLIAMS: Living through a derecho

What the heck? I always consi-dered myself to be fairly well read. I’m fasci-nated by words and I pay attention to weather. I have Weath-erbug installed on my computer and I frequently have the Weather Channel on TV during weather events. Of course, I’ve always known about tornadoes and hurricanes and tsunamis and cyclones and other severe weather phenomena.

But I don’t remember ever hearing the term derecho until this year, although I gather they’ve been around forever and in fact, the U.S. experienced an especially terrible one in 2012. It mostly hit the mid-Atlantic states and resulted in the highest winds ever recorded in June or July. Twenty-two people died and over five million lost power. Did they call it a derecho? If they did, I must not have picked up on it.

Derecho is Spanish for “straight.” A derecho is rather like a tornado but with straight line winds instead of the circular motion of winds in a funnel cloud. (In case you didn’t know, tornado is the Spanish word for “turning.”)

To technically qualify as a derecho, the Weather Service criteria dictates that the line of damage must be at 240 miles long with wind gusts up to at least 58 miles per hour. Actually, many of them are much worse than that. In the one Indiana experienced a couple of weeks ago, Wabash was the hardest hit with 100-mile-an-hour winds. In spite of that, there was a surprisingly small amount of damage except for uprooted trees and ripped off branches. I lost power for approximately 10 hours. In 1998, a derecho that hit Michigan resulted in recorded wind speeds of 130 miles an hour.

Here is how the Storm Prediction Center defines a derecho: “Derechos are associated with bands of showers or thunderstorms that assume a curved or bowed shape. The bow-shaped storms are called bow echoes. Derecho winds are the product of what meteorologists call downbursts. A downburst is a concentrated area of strong wind produced by a convective downdraft (i.e. areas of downward moving wind that are smaller and more intense than other downdrafts).” So, now you know.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Opinion
  • WILLIAMS: America still the dream Is America really in as bad as shape like many people say it is? I’m 67 and when I look around, I don’t see it.Everything isn’t great but believe it or not, there has never been a time when everything was great, not even in those innocent Fifties we

    July 31, 2014

  • OUR VIEW: Every town that has any sort of waterway -- whether it be a river or a creek or just a stream -- knows it will be used as a trash can. And oftentimes, tires are a favorite trash to be tossed into the waterways. Many organizations and concerned citize

    July 31, 2014

  • WERNER: The mystery of the Indian grave at Dykeman Last summer I contacted Thelma Conrad, executive director of the Cass County Historical Society, to ask her if she had any information on the Indian grave at Dykeman Park. Thelma had heard of it but had never seen the small marker that tells of the I

    July 31, 2014

  • THEIR VIEW: Data confirms our obsession with sports Of the five highest paid employees of Indiana University, three are involved with athletics. That was the case in 2013 as well.In new evidence that spending on athletic department salaries is outpacing the rest of the university, if not the vast majo

    July 30, 2014

  • RAMPBELL: Keeping the sick at home Something strange happened here this week: Lots of workers who’ve never done so before got the right to call in sick. And that’s a good thing.The Big Apple, you see, is joining a handful of other trailblazing cities such as Washington, San Francisco

    July 30, 2014

  • KITCHELL: Patacsil was no ordinary Joe Somebody forgot to tell Joe Patacsil that if he wanted to wrestle at a Big Ten university with black and gold as its school colors ... well, most people who know anything about college wrestling today might have said he picked the wrong one -- Purdue

    July 30, 2014

  • MARCUS: The higher education funding mess Public higher education financing is unsustainable as currently configured. This conclusion was reached by two important groups over the past two years. The National Association of State Budget Officers and the State Higher Education Executive Office

    July 29, 2014

  • PUBLIC FORUM: Are businesses missing out on interns? Are businesses missingout on interns?Admittedly we’re a little biased, but the Indiana INTERNnet and Indiana Chamber teams believe your company is not operating at full capacity if you aren’t hosting an internship program. Missing out on increased pr

    July 29, 2014

  • VILLAGE IDIOT: The state of the reunion “Katy! It’s been so long! How’ve you been?”My God, she’s gained so much weight I didn’t recognize her. It’s a good thing we’re all wearing nametags. I thought it was some distant cousin past due with triplets.“Bob! Long time, no see.”No hair, either.

    July 29, 2014

  • OUR VIEW: Indiana's right-to-work law unnecessary It has been a crime for Indiana employers to enter into labor contracts that require workers to pay union dues since Feb. 1, 2012 — the day then-Gov. Mitch Daniels signed legislation making the Hoosier State a “right-to-work” state.Whether Indiana ke

    July 29, 2014

Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

Should the U.S. impose a travel ban on three West African nations in response to a growing Ebola virus outbreak?

Yes
No
Not sure
     View Results
Featured Ads
AP Video
Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.