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Dangerous Derecho Storm over the Midwest hits Chicago

The Derecho approaches Chicago.
Gif:: Colorado State University

The third largest The city in the US is hit by a strong storm that blew 100 mph winds to other parts of the Midwest on Monday.

Chicago is in the porthole of a derecho, a powerful type of storm known for winds that pack the blow of a tornado (insert your own Windy City joke here). The National Weather Service warned that the storm will also drop “torrential rain” calling this an “EXTREMELY DANGEROUS SITUATION” (all caps theirs).

The storm system has left a trail of destruction in the Midwest. The Iowa winds hit 112 mph on Monday, tearing apart metal silos like a sheet of paper, and leaving half a million residents behind with no power as it crossed the state and western Illinois. With the storm now penetrating a subway area of ​​nearly 10 million people, the number of damage and power lines down is sure to increase. The city’s steel and glass skyline is also particularly vulnerable to the high winds that could break windows and create unsafe conditions for people in homes and offices, as well as on the streets below.

The speed at which derechos can form and emerge often only amplifies the damage they do. Capital Weather Gang written down that the short lead time In terms of forecasting, this means that companies responsible for turning on lights rarely have time to prepare for power line damage. let’s say a hurricane. As we saw on the east coast last week when Hurricane Isaias landed in the Carolinas and swept up the coast, even the lead time of a good forecast may end destroyed electrical infrastructure and make customers wait for days until things are connected again.

Derechos are known as rectilinear wind storms. This means that the wind is picking up speed Associated with tornadoes and hurricanes, they do not swirl. Instead, in the US, they generally push a straight line (hence the name) from west to east. It is essentially a wall of wind and water that is occasionally preceded by a shelf or a rolling cloud. Basically, when a derecho approaches, it looks like the alien ships are from independence Daywhich is somewhat apt given the damage they can cause.

Similar to storms that produce tornadoes, however, derechos require a very unstable atmosphere to form and cause damage. The main ingredients are warm, moist air sucked into the storm and cooler air in the back of the storm and below. It is this clash of hot and cooler air that drives the winds of the storms as they rush across the land. With much of the US smoldering in intense heat – a hallmark of climate change – the warm air part of the equation wasn’t a problem. Similar monster storms have hit the east coast in recent years, including one this Earth weather observer had Enjoy the view from the roof from our old New York office in 2018 as it approached. (P.ro Tip: H.Follow the advice of the weather forecasters and get inside before the first raindrops fall.)

After crossing Chicago, the Derecho will continue to wreak havoc on Monday into the early evening hours. Severe thunderstorm warnings and guards extend east across Indiana and Michigan.

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