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Unusual Weather Phenomenon in the U.S. Results in a “Derecho Warning”

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Business ContinuityThe occurrence of an unusual weather phenomenon in the United States resulted in a derecho warning from meteorologists on June 12th. The warning was announced following an unusually large line of storms, which included lighting, hail, and strong winds that moved from Iowa to Maryland. The storm had the potential of effecting more than one in five Americans!

Many of us have never experienced a derecho, let alone know what a derecho is! This leads us to ask:

What is a Derecho?

“It’s a cluster of thunderstorms that congeal into a line, and that line will then start moving east or southeast.  As it progresses, the winds increase and produce damage along that path,” said Jim Keeney, Weather Program Manager at the National Weather Service’s office in Kansas City, Missouri.

On June 12th Keeny announced: “Basically from eastern Iowa to northern Illinois and into northern Indiana, we have a high risk of severe-weather potential this afternoon and into this evening. The greatest threat from that severe weather looks to be high-wind probabilities and possible damage; and what looks to be setting up is a derecho.”

A derechoe is a warm-weather phenomenon, which means that it occurs most often in the summer, especially during June and July in the Northern Hemisphere. However, they can occur at any time of the year, and they occur as frequently during the night as they do during the day.

Tornadoes vs. Derechos

In terms of scale, derechos are a lot different from a tornado. A tornado is more isolated – it forms from a single thunderstorm that strikes a specific area; where a derecho is a very large weather occurrence that strikes an extensive area.

“A tornado, when it does occur, may be on the magnitude of a mile or two wide; a derecho could go for hundreds of miles producing significant damage, with winds in excess of 75 miles or greater that could run for hundreds of miles,” said Keeney.

Tornadoes are significantly smaller in scale, and a derecho has the ability to impact a lot more people. While a derecho might seem similar to a large thunderstorm, the biggest threat of a derecho is the wind.

“If they do form winds in excess of 75 miles an hour, we’re talking about significant tree damage. Some derechos can be in excess of 90 miles an hour, this is getting into more structural damage, roof damage and things of that nature.” said Keeney.

How to Prepare for a Derecho

During a storm of this size and intensity, it’s extremely important to be prepared, and take shelter at the lowest possible level of a building. In order to avoid being caught off guard, stay tuned to your local media. If a derecho warning has been issued in your area, take shelter until the storm has passed.

This type of storm is an incredibly rare occurrence, so people don’t often hear about it. However, when a derecho storm does occur, you can expect it to produce a significant amount of damage.

In order to ensure that your business is prepared, make sure you have a proper IT-backup and disaster-recovery plan implemented to avoid the loss of important data or the interruption of your business operations. Be sure to train employees about your backup and disaster recovery plan, and assign specific tasks in the plan to appropriate team members.

Are you sure your backup and disaster recovery plan will be effective if a derecho warning is issued? Call us today to arrange a no-obligation consultation, and learn how our team of IT service experts can help you ensure that your business is protected! 

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