SHENANDOAH VALLEY, Va. (WHSV) – While the June 2012 derecho event is the most memorable, we have had other derecho events in our area. It was never called a derecho.
The term “dereco” is not a new meteorological term. It was invented in the 1880s and adopted by the meteorological community to some extent. the term seemed to get lost for several decades, but was revived in 1987 by two Storm Prediction Center meteorologists in an article. Then, after the mid-Atlantic derecho of 2012, the term was widely used on social media and the media and the public became more aware of the term. According to the Storm Prediction Center, our area averages a derecho every 2-4 years. Just like other weather events, some derechos are stronger than others.
Keep in mind that with many of these past storms, not all damage is reported and there was likely a lot more damage than stated in the official report. This is why it is important to report any damage. Derechos have happened in the past, but it just hasn’t been called out publicly. With the photos below, it’s a combination of radar with damaging wind reports. The wind reports are the blue dots. A derecho that has its front curved toward the storm line is visible on radar images. This curved front, called a “bow echo”, is a sign of strong, straight winds.
As always, if you have photos or videos of any of these weather events, you can always upload them to whsv.com
Derecho events listed from newest to oldest:
Local coverage of this event:
Although a derecho event, locally there were strong to severe storms but little damage. Most of the damage was concentrated in Shenandoah County. Several trees in the Shenandoah National Forest. Also a report of 17 trees on Van Buren Road in Shenandoah County.
Several trees fell in Nelson County with wind estimates of 60 mph. In West Virginia, there were trees between Onego and Seneca Rocks. Several trees in Hardy County with wind gusts estimated at 60 mph.
It was an incredible day of storms throughout the region, in fact there were three sets of storms. The strongest being in the early afternoon, then again in the late afternoon/early evening.
The winds were so strong it was thought a tornado had touched down in Page County due to the extent of the damage.
The NWS came out to survey the storms and discovered a 3 mile path of straight line wind damage with winds estimated at nearly 100 mph!
Local coverage of this event:
Later that same month, a more damaging derecho hit from eastern Nebraska and Iowa, through the Great Lakes, the Ohio Valley, and into the mid-Atlantic. Locally, wind gusts exceeded 50 mph and were estimated at 60 mph. Many trees fell as well as hail the size of pennies.
Local reports had fallen from trees in Woodstock and Broadway. Trees and power lines in Shenandoah and Sherando.
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A complex of storms caused damage across the mid-Atlantic. Locally, some wind gusts exceeded 50 mph. In Basye, an estimated 60mph gust downed trees. In Grant County, trees were also reported being felled.
In Spotsylvania, a stage collapsed during an outdoor festival.
This particular event had a great impact throughout the region. This derecho impacted the area in the afternoon. Winds were at least 55 mph and a few stronger gusts. Many trees in Highland County. A fire caused by lightning destroyed a barn near Blue Grass.
Numerous trees had fallen in Augusta County and several structures were damaged by the strong wind. In Staunton, a 65mph gust of wind was recorded and a downed tree at Woodrow Wilson’s birthplace damaged a brick wall. Windows were even blown out and the roof of an apartment was damaged.
In Stuarts Draft, a downed tree damaged a house and a tractor and a high wind blew the aluminum roof off a barn. In Waynesboro, trees and power lines were downed.
In Rockingham County, trees and power lines were downed in Timberville, Elkton, Keezletown and Rawley Springs. Some trees were felled on the roads and a tree fell on a car in Keezletown. Hail fell in Timberville.
In Shenandoah County, an F0 tornado briefly touched down on property adjacent to Red Bank Road near Bowman’s Crossing. The 15-meter-wide tornado began by sucking water onto the banks of the North Fork of the Shenandoah River. Then it moved toward the shore and traveled north two-tenths of a mile. It downed or snapped five trees and flattened part of a cornfield before dissipating.
Straight-line winds downed trees and power lines near New Market and Mount Jackson. A wind gust of 42 MPH was recorded in Edinburgh and hail fell in New Market. In Page County, downed trees and power lines blocked roads in Stanley.
A 41 MPH gust of wind was recorded in Luray where a downed tree pierces the roof of a house.
This one dubbed the “West Virginia Derecho”, the storms started in Arkansas and moved northeast. In West Virginia alone, insurance claims have been filed for 8,000 homes and businesses. More than 200,000 customers in West Virginia lost power to the derecho.
This derecho is called the “more trees down derecho” with 50-70 mph winds between Virginia and West Virginia.
In Woodstock, a house suffered extensive damage after a nearby garage roof blew into the house. Two planes were overturned at the Charlottesville airport.
A derecho traveled from the Great Lakes to the mid-Atlantic. At this point I don’t have many details about this event, but in DC the wind gusts were at least 66 mph.
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