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University of Iowa professor coined term "derecho" in 1800s

"First" derecho in 1877 in Iowa
"First" derecho in 1877 in Iowa
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A derecho is a very strong, widespread wind storm. A storm is considered a derecho when it produces wind damage in an area over 250 miles in length and wind gusts of 58 mph or greater.

The August 10th, 2020 derecho traveled over 700 miles in 14 hours and produced winds as high as 112 mph.

The word derecho means "right" or "straight ahead" in Spanish was first used in 1888.

The first time it was used was by a physics professor at the University of Iowa. Gustavus Hinrichs used "derecho" to note the difference of straight-moving winds versus the swirl of a tornado.

He referenced a derecho that occurred across the state of Iowa in 1877. The term disappeared for a few years, but the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration began using it again to describe the powerful storms.

Derechos can happen all over the world, but primarily across the central and eastern U.S.

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On average there are one to two derechos per year in the U.S. That's compared to thousands of tornadoes in the U.S. per year.

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