Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Derecho Threat Tomorrow?

There is an infrequent type of thunderstorm-related windstorm called a derecho (dare RAY show) which causes very high winds and damage over many tens or hundreds of miles. The last one to occur in the United States was June 29, 2012, from Iowa to Delaware. There were parts of West Virginia that were without power for three weeks! Even in parts of the District of Columbia, power and cell service were out for a week. It was one of the most extensive power outages in the history of the United States.

There is the possibility (note: possibility) of supercell thunderstorms, with tornadoes, morphing into a derecho tomorrow as the afternoon/evening progresses.

So, what do you do to prepare for a derecho?
  • Fill your car's gas tank, then have it in the garage before the storms arrive.
  • If you have a generator, fill its tank. 
  • Bring in lawn furniture, trampolines, etc.
  • Flashlight with fresh batteries
  • Full charge for cell phones, laptops and other items
  • Get a power inverter that can be run from your car
  • If you must keep items chilled (i.e., medicines), get a portable generator you can place outdoors that you can plug in a refrigerator directly
  • Use a licensed electrician to install a generator directly wired into your home's system
  • Regardless of an inverter or portable generator, get extension cords long enough to reach from the generator or inverter to whatever you wish to hook it to
  • Any items such as milk 
  • Refill any prescriptions about the run out
This video taken in Maryland during last year's derecho gives you can idea what to expect. You can hear the sound of the wind. Once the transformers start "exploding" the power goes out. The power stays out for 36 hours and he was without internet for 94 hours!
Derechoes are very tricky to forecast and, hopefully, I'm wrong. But, I wanted to go ahead and post this  to make sure readers are prepared.

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