Friday, July 31, 2015

Freak storm's legacy

Cleanup continues from stunning damage wrought by mighty winds.

Freak storm's legacy


The latest word from Atlantic City Electric is that about 100,000 customers were still without power from that incredible weekend storm.

Those who decided to stay around Philly Friday night rather than head to the Shore may have seen the spectacular lightning show -- and it was spectacular -- but that was about it.

Anyone at the beach towns or in other parts of extreme South Jersey, or Delaware or Maryland or the Washington area saw quite a bit more.

Those wind gusts  were hurricane-force -- up to 90 m.p.h. -- in Delaware and South Jersey, said Lee Robertson, at the Mount Holly National Weather Service office.

The roll call of damage and wind reports starting just before midnight Friday night and 2 a.m. Saturday is staggering.

A wind gust of 74 m.p.h., that's right at Category 1 hurricane strength, was measured in Absecon, and a 64 m.p.h. wind at Atlantic City. Here is the weather service storm report.

As everyone probably knows by now, the phenomenon responsible for all the damage is known as a "derecho," which is Spanish for straight.

The damage might sure look like it was caused by a tornado, but the devastation is the product of straight-line winds from a fast-moving front.

This one affected an area from Iowa to the Atlantic Coast, and was racing along at about 60 m.p.h., Roberston said.

Here is the Storm Prediction Center report showing the affected areas.

Derechos are unusual around here, but hardly unprecedented. The storm center says we see them maybe once every four years.

Random thunderstorms could pop during the day Wednesday, but rain isn't likely to threaten any fireworks shows at night.

And no derechos are in the forecasts.


Inquirer Weather Columnist
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About this blog

Everyone talks about the weather, and here we write about it.

When we’re around and conditions warrant, we’ll keep you updated about what’s coming, but we will do our best always to discuss weather and climate developments in context and remind you that nothing in the atmosphere happens in a vacuum.

Tony Wood has been writing about the atmosphere for The Inquirer for 26 years.

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Tony Wood Inquirer Weather Columnist
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