Wednesday, June 08, 2005

severe weather in the upper midwest

Tonight, there is a derecho racing across the Dakotas and just crossing into Minnesota. A derecho is a line of storms that moves rapidly across several hundred miles, with strong straight-line winds. It's your normal thunderstorm squall-line on steroids. Being the weather buff I am, I'm now glued to the Weather Channel, waiting to hear more about the derecho, how fast the winds are, etc. Yeah, I know, I really need to get a life.

There's what the derecho looked like as of this post. Yeah, I snagged the radar image from the Weather Channel's website. The bow-shaped line of thunderstorms is the derecho itself, which is several hundred miles long, and has been moving along, intact, for a few hundred miles so far.

Why is it called a derecho, you ask, and haven't clicked on the link yet? Derecho is a Spanish word that can mean "straight ahead", as opposed to tornado, which is thought to be derived from Spanish for "to turn".

Until I read the Storm Prediction Center's Derecho Fact Page, I didn't realize that 2 years ago I experienced a derecho first hand when one formed in Arkansas and swept across Tennessee, northern Mississippi, and Northern Alabama, before it disapated into a heavy rain event. I don't remember that day, really. I vaguely remember Memphis getting the living shit pounded out of them by straight line winds, and things were a little interesting here, but we're used to that here in North Alabama.

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