Cam's Weather

Lines of thunderstorms

By: tornadocam, 3:02 AM GMT on June 14, 2013

The past 48 hours a Derecho has caused havoc in the Mid-West, Southern, and Mid-Atlantic states. So the question many ask is what is a Derecho. Before I go into detail what a Derecho I think it is important to go over the basics. I will first be starting off with the term Squall Line

A good definition of a squall line is it is a line of severe thunderstorms. A squall line often produces straight line wind damage, hail and often times tornadoes are embedded in squall lines. Squall lines are often found along cold fronts. While they can occur in any time of the year they mostly occur in the spring and Fall months. The winds in a squall line from the thunderstorms usually range from 60-80 mph. In addition to damaging winds and hail squall lines often spawn tornadoes. The tornadoes in a squall line can sometimes form quick without warning.

So what is a Derecho? A Derecho is a type of squall line that moves very fast and has hurricane force winds from the thunderstorms. Drechos can occur at anytime but they are common in the Summer. They from when a cold front in the atmosphere collides with a surface warm front with modern winds in the atmosphere. The warm air quickly rises and in the summer cold fronts often have warm humid fronts. The storms usually ride along the warm front and due to the winds in the atmosphere Derechos move really fast.

Most Derecho's move over 50 mph and cover a large area sometimes these lines of storms can be hundreds of miles long. The winds in a Derecho are very strong often times over 75 mph. In fact, some storms in an intense Derecho can have winds over 100 mph. In addition Derechos can also produce tornadoes. The winds pose a great hazard to life and can do a lot of damage. A notable example of a Derecho occurred last year. In June 2012 thunderstorms formed in Minnesota the storms quickly got in a line started to move at 60 mph producing 80-110 mph winds. The storm system also spawned tornadoes. This Derecho impacted the states of Illinois to New Jersey in a short time.

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Global warming and hurricane seasons

By: tornadocam, 4:33 PM GMT on June 06, 2013

The past few years of destructive hurricanes has raised a debate is global warming fueling giant hurricanes. This is a valid question as the past hurricanes have been known for their size of their wind fields. Some storms that were huge in size are Ivan (2004), Katrina (2005), Ike (2008), Irene(2011) and Sandy (2012). Supporters of Global warming argue that due to warming water temperatures the hurricanes are increasing in size. Skeptics of Global warming make the argument that we have always had intense hurricanes. I will be exploring past hurricanes and recent hurricanes.

I'm going to start off with the argument we have always had hurricanes. Yes, we have had a long history of hurricanes. Hurricane Sandy from last year and Hurricane Irene from 2011 has raised attention that the North East USA Coast can be impacted by hurricanes. In 1938 the now infamous New England hurricane devastated the area as a Category 3 hurricane. In 1954 two hurricanes impacted New England Carol and Edna. Carol was a small hurricane but it was a category 3 hurricane when it came ashore in Connecticut. Edna made landfall In Massachusetts as a category 1.

Now the Southern Coast of the USA is no stranger to hurricanes and has a long history of them. Some intense hurricanes in the past include Audrey (1957), Donna (1960), Camille (1969), Frederic (1979), Alicia (1983), Hugo (1989) and several others. All of the hurricanes mentioned above were major hurricanes at landfall. Skeptics bring up these storms as we have always had hurricanes and will continue to have intense hurricanes.

Supporters of the Global warming theory point out that while historic storms were equally intense they were small to medium sized storms. In the past 5 years the record size of hurricanes has fallen. In 2008 Ike set the record for largest hurricane in the Atlantic Ocean Basin, in 2011 Irene passed Ike and finally in 2012 Sandy set the new record. So, what is causing hurricanes to become bigger. Supporters of the Global warming theory point that warming water temps are allowing more hurricanes to form thunderstorms and expand. Keep in mind that a hurricane to intensify it needs water temps of 80 degrees and light wind shear to form. If Global warming is real supporters point out that we could expect to see giant hurricanes like Ike, Irene, and Sandy.

So what is my take on this argument, well it is something to be concerned about. The intensity of hurricanes based on past records has not really changed from today's hurricanes. However what has changed in super sized storms seem to be becoming a norm. In the past usually a few storms for example like Hurricane Hugo would be what they call giant sized. But it seems like now every season has more super sized storms.

What is causing Giant sized hurricanes maybe due to warming, but it could also be due to the La Nina and Neutral conditions the past few years, which favors hurricane development in the Atlantic. Rather it is Global warming or just a natural cycle the bottom line is that giant sized hurricanes are going to happen. We will see more storms like Ike, Irene and Sandy.

So the question is what can we do. My answer is always be prepared and do not fall into the trap that my area on the Coast can't get hit with a hurricane cause it Can. Have a good preparation plan. The hurricanes have been a natural occurrence and they are not going to go away anytime soon.


The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

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Cam's Weather

About tornadocam

I'm a Christian who loves weather. I have been into weather since I was 3 years old and I continue to study weather, I'm also a weather spotter