Derecho Threat: Severe Storm Pummels MidwestBy: Val Powell - June 5, 2014
A derecho is often classified as a type of extreme weather phenomenon, which refers to an inland-type of hurricane accompanied by heavy thunderstorms. Derechos are capable of inflicting extensive damage to wide areas. According to the Storm Prediction Center, derechos are at least 240 miles wide and produce long-lived straight-line wind damage.
On Tuesday, extreme weather, heavy flooding and severe storms brought on by a possible derecho, affected more than 35 million people in Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska. Weather agencies placed a rigid watch on the storm as it continued to wreak havoc throughout the Midwest region until late Wednesday, according to a weather report on FOX19-WXIX.
The National Weather Service Omaha put out a warning on Twitter, advising residents of eastern Nebraska and western Iowa not to walk or drive through the area due to rising floodwaters and “potentially life threatening flash flooding”.
According to the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center, wind gusts measuring over 80 mph battered the Midwest region. The strong winds uprooted trees and utility poles and forced Eppley Airfield, three miles northeast of Omaha, to close. Joe Rotterdam, assistant manager of airline affairs, said the closing caused the cancellation of 33 flights.
Flash floods, hail measuring the size of baseballs, and strong winds were all part of the intense storm that hit the Midwest. In Omaha, Nebraska, more than 12,000 urban residents experienced power outages due to flooding and heavy rainfall from the possible derecho.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration stated that a derecho can occur when a storm spans a distance of more than 240 miles with gusts reaching more than 58 mph. This kind of storm brought massive destruction back in June 2012 when it ripped through the states of Illinois and Virginia, causing an estimated $1 billion in damages and 13 fatalities.
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