in Weather

Record heat wave spawns derecho

Derecho, 29 June 2012

This is day two of a record heat wave in Raleigh and elsewhere in the US. Yesterday, the thermometer here at MT.Net topped out 107.8 degrees, though the real temperature was probably closer to 105 degrees. It was surreal walking onto the porch and feeling this heavy air that didn’t cool you when you moved.

Today the temperature is a bit more modest, with a reading of 101 degrees at the moment. Few things are moving outside with the exception of the whirring of everyone’s electric meters.

Last night as part of the heat wave, a freak storm raced across the eastern US. Called a derecho, the storm raced from Chicago to the east coast at a speed of 60 miles an hour in a front over 500 miles wide. My meteorologist friend tells me the derecho knocked down the temperature today, drying the air out a bit and keeping us from setting an all-time record high today as was expected.

As a result of the derecho, over a million people in Virginia lost power and the governor declared a state of emergency, calling the damage the worst non-hurricane damage the state has ever experienced. Winds were clocked at 80 miles per hour in Fredericksburg and other locations.

Here in Raleigh some friends noted the 70 MPH winds as they passed through around midnight. Kelly and I were asleep at that time and didn’t hear a thing.