September 27, 2023
Weather Radar Map of Michigan

Did a Derecho Hit the Upper Thumb?

On the early morning of Thursday, November 6th, 2015 neighbors heard a commotion that could only be described as “sounding like a freight train” ripping sound their street. Within moments trees were falling and branches over 9 inches in diameter were being hurled over 30 yards or more. It was over in seconds. When neighbors came out to explore it seems the damage was confined to a very small area comprised of three lots. A tree was down and damaged part of a garage while another took out a fence. There were similar reports of damage across the thumb. Bad Axe lost trees and experienced power outages. Schools were dismissed early. 

Derecho – A Straight Line of Destruction


What is a Derecho

The residents of the upper thumb witnessed microbursts spawned by the classic weather phenomenon known as a Derecho. The derecho (pronounced similar to “deh-REY-cho”), is a widespread, long-lived wind storm. Derechos are associated with bands of rapidly moving showers or thunderstorms variously known as bow echoes, and squall lines

A derecho can produce destruction similar to that of a tornado. The damage typically occurs in one direction along a relatively straight path. As a result, the term “straight-line wind damage” sometimes is used to describe derecho damage. If the swath of wind damage extends for more than 240 miles, includes wind gusts of at least 58 mph along most of its length, and several, well-separated 75 mph or greater gusts, then the event may be classified as a derecho.

The winds associated with this event are not constant and may vary considerably along the derecho path, sometimes being below severe limits (57 mph or less), and sometimes being very strong (from 75 mph to greater than 100 mph). This is because the swaths of stronger winds within the general path of a derecho are produced by what is called downbursts. Downbursts often occur in irregularly-arranged clusters, along with embedded microbursts and burst swaths. Derechos might be said to be made up of families of continuous downburst clusters for at least 240 miles.

Information about Derechos was taken from NOAA. 

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Michael Hardy

Mike Hardy is the owner of Thumbwind Publications LLC. It started in 2009 as a fun-loving site covering Michigan's Upper Thumb. Since then, he has authored a vast range of content and established a loyal base of 60,000 visitors per month.

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