Last night at about 9PM my son, Prince Lemon, sent me this on facebook:
9:05 PM UPDATE: Reports are coming in of trees down all over Grant co., West Virginia (around Petersburg) – due east of D.C.- as storms get closer. Time of arrival 10 p.m. to midnight.
8:30 PM UPDATE: Storms are now racing into eastern West Virginia and west central Virginia (Staunton and Harrisonburg) where severe thunderstorm warnings are in effect. So far, the storms have not weakened appreciably. More than 800,000 customers without power from northwest Indiana through West Virgnia according to Twitter feed @emgis. An 88 mph wind gust was clocked at White Sulphur Springs, WV.
@capitalweather DC: charge portable devices NOW. We are staring at mass outage potential.
Hmm. I checked a weather map and there was a green blob with some yellow in it headed our way. It didn’t look very bad to me.
I went to bed kind of early, and I sort of heard some wind and saw some lightning behind my closed eyelids, and I knew the power went out. Yesterday was 100 degrees, so without the air conditioning the house was hot. I got up in the middle of the night to go downstairs to sleep where it was cooler. Then at 5:30am the dog woke me up (I’m dog sitting my boss’s dog) and he wanted to go out, so I opened the back door and saw this:
That tree was standing up before I went to bed. I went back in and tried to sleep a little more, then I had to get up and take a closer look.
Luckily it feel diagonally and not into my house.
The whole root ball came out of the ground and destroyed the fence.
There is a big puddle under the root ball.
It looks like a gate, but it’s not a gate. Well, it is now.
And one of my beautiful tomato plants was sheered right off of the topsy turvy planter. It was just starting to get little tomatoes on it too.
I decided to head to the trail to run, but it was hard to get there with all of the trees down.
This is my street, this tree was only blocking half of the street.
But a little farther on, and I had to turn around. Couldn’t get past this one.
Finally got outside the neighborhood, and found trees blocking the roads.
And wires down.
I got here, and had to turn around again.
I finally got to the road that leads to the trail, and there were lots of kids and a few adults with hacksaws clearing the road.
They did a great job. Turns out they are boy scouts and they were camping in tents outside when the storm hit. Trees were falling everywhere and they were huddled in their tents, although I think some went into their van. They are on a one week bike trip from Pittsburgh to DC, and they had 17 miles to go. I think this last 17 miles could be tough for them.
More wires down.
There were trees down all over the trail, so I only did 5 miles roundtrip. I got tired of crawling over and under trees and branches and limbs.
They are saying power could be out for a week, and it is 100 degrees here today. I have been spending the day at a friend’s house and I might sleep here too. This seems to happen every summer, but this is the worst I have ever seen, including ice storms, hurricanes and blizzards. One million customers are without power.
The storm moved 600 miles in 10 hours. That is 60 miles an hour. And we are supposed to get another one tonight. It was a “derecho” which according to the Weather Channel is:
Derechoes are large clusters of thunderstorms that produce widespread wind damage, usually as a result of one or more curved lines of thunderstorms known as bow echoes. The word in the Spanish language means “straight” and these windstorms leave wide, long swaths of straight-line wind damage. These winds can be as strong as 50 to 100 mph (or higher)!
An ordinary thunderstorm produces a swath of damaging winds usually only a mile or two wide and a few miles long, but derechoes can produce damage swaths tens of miles wide and several hundred miles long.
According to Dr. Forbes, because of the widespread nature of the winds in a derecho, the impact is somewhat like that of a landfalling hurricane, and affects a much greater area than most tornadoes. The extensive swath of downed trees and power lines causes a major cleanup and restoration effort that takes days to weeks and often requires relief workers to come in from other states to aid in these efforts.
Having a storm warning didn’t help in this case!