A derecho storm system hit parts of the Midwest on Thursday. Hundreds of thousands had no power, homes and cars were smashed, and fields of crops were flattened by the high winds. The line of severe thunderstorms contained wind gusts of 90 miles per hour.
The storm moved quickly, starting in southeast Nebraska and northeast Kansas before pushing further east into Illinois and Indiana. “It was a classic line of severe thunderstorms that met all of the criteria for a typical derecho,” says Jonathan Erdman, a senior meteorologist with weather.com. “These types of storms typically form in late spring or early summer and are long-lived, widespread, and damaging wind events.”
A derecho typically forms along the edge of an excessively hot and humid airmass like the heat dome that’s been parked over the Southern Plains and lower Mississippi Valley. “They often ride the northern edge of heat domes,” Erdman says.