I admit it, until the 2020 growing season when Iowa and other states in the Midwest were hit by that devastating late summer derecho, I had never heard of a derecho.  Seeing pictures of flattened cornfields, destroyed machine sheds, grain bins, and other buildings I learned quickly how powerful a derecho can be. I hoped I would never experience one! Seeing the weather reports of the wind gusts, tornadoes, and damage from Wednesday night I began wondering, did Southern Minnesota experience a derecho too?

So, what is a derecho? The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines it as "a large fast-moving complex of thunderstorms with powerful straight-line winds that cause widespread destruction. The National Weather Service definition is a little more technical. A derecho "is a widespread, long-lived wind storm that is associated with a band of rapidly moving showers or thunderstorms. If the wind damage swath extends more than 240 miles and includes wind gusts of at least 58 mph or greater along most of its length, then the event may be classified as a derecho."

Then if you want to get really deep, there are three main types of derechos, serial, progressive, and hybrid. You can look it up to earn about them, it got very technical and over my head very fast. However, there is no question that we experienced a derecho Wednesday night. We can be thankful the damage was not any worse than it was and, that there was no corn standing in the field. It would have been flattened just like the corn in Iowa!


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