The feared derecho largely failed to impress on Wednesday and Thursday as a massive storm system moved across the country. The storm caused widespread power outages and flash floods, but failed to live up to its forecast.
The National Weather Service issued warnings for the Washington, D.C., area to expect strong thunderstorms that have the potential to produce harsh winds and large hail.
But the storm failed to produce a strong derecho, a storm that last year caused $1 billion in damage from Chicago to Washington, D.C. The death toll from last year’s storm was 34.
Despite damage and flash floods, the storms appeared to cause less wind damage than was expected, according to Bill Bunting of the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center. Bunting added that the thunderstorms took longer to form into a long line that could cause more damage.
The storms also merged farther east than expected, limiting the potential to cause major damage to Illinois and Indiana, though both states still saw some severe weather and reports of tornadoes.
But the individual storms were still quite powerful, even before they merged together to form a weak derecho. The weather service received reports of hail larger than an inch in diameter and preliminary tornado warnings. Locations for the severe weather stretched from southeast Minnesota to Virginia.
The derecho did appear, with straight-line winds topping 70 mph. But even with two dozen tornado warnings, no twisters were confirmed. The US Open at Merion Golf Club outside Philadelphia was postponed, but play resumed about three hours later.
The weather service’s Storm Prediction Center still forecasted a moderate risk of severe thunderstorms on Thursday for some East Coast states. The major impact from the storms was expected by Thursday afternoon for Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, and New Jersey.
The Office of Personnel Management in the capital explained that federal agencies are still open, despite the derecho storm, but workers can work from home or take unscheduled leave if they don’t want to be out in the storm.
Have you felt the effects of the derecho in your area, or were the warnings worse than the actual storm?
[Image via Mongo]