A massive line of violent thunderstorms are racing across the plains; spelling possible devastation and destruction in the lives of 1 in 5 Americans. 64 million people in 10 states will feel the impact of the storm. The gigantic storm system, packing fierce wind, large hail and intense lighting is rapidly moving from Iowa to Maryland.
Meteorologist voice dire warnings that the solid line of thunderstorms could span an unusual weather episode known as derecho. A derecho is described as a massive storm system comprised of strong straight-lines winds spanning a minimum of 240 miles. Derechos with sustained winds in excessive of 58 mph occur, on average, about once a year in the Midwest section of the United States.
Bill Bunting, operations chief at the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma said today’s storms are likely to generate multiple tornadoes, road closures and power outages. As the storms pass, many people in its path are likely to experience oppressive heat.
“It’s a pretty high threat,” Bunting announced. Bunting further warns the storm will produce large hail and dangerous lightning. “We don’t want to scare people, but we want them to be aware.”
The storms will move so fast that “by the time you see the dark sky and distant thunder you may have only minutes to get to safe shelter,” Bunting said.
Bunting advised that the risk of severe weather in Cincinnati, Chicago, Columbus and Indianapolis is 45 times greater than the typical risk on any June day. Bunting advised, “Detroit, Baltimore, Washington, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh and Louisville, Ky., have a risk level 15 times more than normal.”
Jeff Masters, meteorology director at Weather Underground stated, “Wednesday might be the worst severe weather outbreak for this part of the country for the year” said Jeff Masters, meteorology director at Weather Underground.
Just a year ago, a derecho rampaging from Chicago to Washington, killed 13 people, left 4 million without power and caused more than $1 billion dollars in damage.
Although tornadoes and even a derecho can occur without warning, at any time, the straight-line winds expected today can be especially destructive.
The National Weather Service anticipates the storms will commence late morning into early afternoon around the Chicago area, moving easterly at approximately 40 mph. If the storm remains intact as it crosses the Appalachian Mountains, arrival in the Washington area is anticipated for late afternoon or early evening.
Residents of the affected areas are urgently encouraged to be prepared to seek shelter and to pro-actively take steps to protect persons, pets and property. Act wisely and stay safe.
By: Marlene Affeld