Friday, July 6, 2012

Rude Weather

What a week this has been.  My apologies for disappearing for a few days.  I have now taken care of the multitude of little things that needed to get sorted, and am feeling like myself once again.  Having only moved to the DC area this year and having moved in with someone who had been living here a while, I made the mistake of assuming that emergency supplies (like flashlights!) would be available in our house.  I was so, so wrong.  The morning after the power went out, I went to WalMart to buy supplies, but it was so crowded and emptying so quickly that I ended up at Target and was still looking at the last available camping lanterns, flashlights, coolers, etc.  But I was truly grateful that neighboring Ashburn had power, since the entire city of Sterling had none.

As you may know, this is hurricane country and it is that season, so I realized that this was something I might have to deal with (okay, I may have been a teensy bit in denial).  I also assumed that the area I live in would be prepared for any major storm that hit, within reason.   You know, I thought they'd be used to it.  What I didn't know, having never dealt with them before, is that hurricanes are generally polite enough to give a few days warning before they hit.  What we had was a derecho (deh-REY-cho).   A word which most of us coastal folks had never heard before, but now everyone from Chicago to the East Coast has become very familiar with.  

Derechos are hella rude, you guys. 

On Friday June 29th we had a "Super Derecho," according to The Watchers (a site that covers everything from space weather to social evolution).  To be classified as a derecho, a storm has to "cause damage over 240 miles and pack wind gusts of at least 58 miles per hour."  Our very special derecho exceeded those qualifications.  

According to a post from the Washington Post blog, Capital Weather Gang, derechos are not terribly common.  Although there were weather factors that could come together to produce quite a severe storm (for one, excessive heat, which we still have),  it was also entirely possible that nothing would happen.   Here's what the storm looked like, courtesy of Our Amazing Planet, which gave the description of a derecho as: "A rare, powerful, and long-reaching windstorm that accompanies lines of thunderstorms."
All of the videos of the storm I found on YouTube were a bit shaky, but they give you an idea of how the storm seemed to come out of nowhere.  Sure, the sky seemed a bit dark, but the biggest sign was the terrible (and terribly hot) calm before it hit.
We are now being told that we can expect another one of these in four years.  Has California fallen into the ocean yet?  I might have to go back.  But not for a few years...


  1. I think that's a tough decision, derechos vs earthquakes...hmmm.

    1. But I'm used to the earthquakes - they're old hat! Tropical storms are freaking terrifying.


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