Aug 11, 2020

Derecho Tears Through Midwest, Bringing Down Power Lines

A derecho blew through downtown Chicago, shutting down power lines for many residents

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A line of severe storms, known as a derecho, blew through downtown Chicago and surrounding areas on Aug. 10. 

Trees and power lines were down, sparking fires in the city, according to city officials, reported CNN. The storms produced winds of more than 100 mph in some cases, as they moved through Iowa and Illinois.

The weather cleared out of Chicago and was stretching from Michigan and Indiana to southern Illinois and eastern Missouri, near St. Louis. 

"Much of northern Illinois has pockets of damage with downed trees, debris, and powerlines blocking roadways," tweeted the National Weather Service in Chicago.

More than a million homes and businesses in the Midwest are without power, according to CNN. The severe weather cleared in Chicago the same evening.

According to CNN meteorologist Taylor Ward, the threat will continue to push east, and the storms will slowly ease.

The storms are part of a derecho that was moving out of Iowa into northern Illinois, toward Chicago, which prompted the Storm Prediction Center to issue a PDS thunderstorm watch through 7 p.m. CT Aug. 10.

"A derecho producing widespread damaging winds, some of which should be intense, is expected to persist and expand east from Iowa into parts of the Midwest through this evening," said the Storm Prediction Center on Aug. 10.

Derechos can produce destruction similar to that of tornados, but the damage usually occurs in one direction along a relatively straight swath, according to CNN. The storm was under a moderate risk (level 4 of 5) for severe storms, as the risk area included over 13 million people. 

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