National Weather Service classifies damaging wind event a ‘derecho’

So, what is a derecho? Storm Team 12 Meteorologist Cassie Wilson explains.
Published: Dec. 20, 2021 at 6:29 PM CST
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - The National Weather Service is officially calling last week’s wind event through the Midwest a derecho. It’s the first one ever recorded in the U.S. in the month of December.

A driver in western Kansas captures high winds blowing dirt and debris. Winds up to 88 mph were recorded in the areA.

So what is a derecho? Derecho is a long-lived windstorm that packs winds of 58 miles per hour for a prolonged period of time and travels a length of at least 250 miles. Although a derecho can produce destruction similar to that of a tornado, the damage typically occurs in one direction along a relatively straight path. As a result, the term “straight-line winds” is sometimes used to describe damage caused by a derecho.

On December 15, widespread damage stretched from Kansas all the way to Wisconsin. The storm packed hurricane-force winds with gusts of up to 120 miles per hour in portions of Iowa. It also spawned 21 tornadoes and resulted in five deaths.

The wind was responsible for a lot of damage across Kansas, including the moment a tank slammed into a pick truck in Dodge City. Laton Dowling captured it all.

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