I AM TAKING A BREAK FROM THE BLOG UNTIL WEDNESDAY. MORE ON THAT BELOW.
The derecho happened 1 year ago today, on June 29, 2012. I have a front-page piece in The Roanoke Times today marking the anniversary. There is also still a place on our Times Square blog to write about your memories and/or lessons learned from the derecho (and read those of others, some of which frequent this blog). Though obviously a dark time for many in our region, that day was one of the shining moments for the Weather Journal blog, because we (and when I say that, I don’t just mean what I post, but commenters as well) were ahead of the game on the potential event all day. The word “derecho” first appeared on this blog at 9:50 a.m. on June 29, 2012, more than 3 hours before the derecho formed and about 10-11 hours before it reached Southwest Virginia.
(6/29/2012) UPDATE 9:50 AM: …. Damaging winds would be the primary threat if this storm cluster — perhaps a “bow echo” or derecho — develops. Before any of that would occur, it’ still likely to reach or exceed 100 at Roanoke. It’s already 90 at 9 a.m. END UPDATE
I posted three blog entries (and amended them with 5 updates) on June 29 and the morning of June 30 related to extreme heat and the derecho. The first is linked above; a second was posted just before 7 p.m., and updated at 8:35 p.m., as it became obvious severe winds were imminent. Then I posted again at nearly 1:30 a.m. after we got the newspaper to press on that wild night (I was also serving as night editor for the print publication that evening), updating once more at mid-morning Saturday.
My memory of it is watching power flashes to the north and northwest from The Roanoke Times roof garden as the dusty winds roared through, snapping power lines and blowing up transformers. I knew the winds were easily 60+ mph and possibly 70 mph downtown, as trash cans and picnic tables tipped over on the roof garden. I wish I had videotaped those moments when the derecho arrived. The area near my home in southern Roanoke County had very little impact — much more damage occurred in the June 13 storm this year — and we never lost power. As a result, our home became a relief center for my wife’s parents, who did lose power, for a few days.
(NOTE: Photo captions sometimes interrupt the flow of copy in the links below. A glitch from a system switchover.)
And a couple of official links reviewing the derecho:
I am going to take a few days’ break from the blog, through Wednesday morning. All I will be doing is occasionally approving comments for post Saturday through Tuesday, maybe no more than once or twice a day. I have some vacation time to catch up on, a need to take a break, and no one lined up this go-round as a substitute.
The weather through that time period will be warm (lots of 80s highs, 60s lows) with periods of showers and thunderstorms. It usually proves futile to figure out the timing on these periods of showers and storms anyway. Chances of rain are likely to pick up by late Sunday and Monday as the orientation of the central/eastern U.S. trough shifts just so to pull winds more out of the south from the Gulf of Mexico. There may be some threat of severe storms from time to time, with locally damaging winds as the primary danger. As time goes along, we will likely move away from the windy storm clusters we’ve seen coming at us from the west and northwest and more toward the tropical downpour/wet microburst kind of strong storm threat.
Some resources to follow during my break:
I plan to be back on Wednesday morning to catch up on the past few days, and take a look at Fourth of July weather.