North American Derecho and Drought

The June 2012 Derecho was one of the most damaging thunderstorm complexes in recent history. This surprise storm produced wind speeds over 90 mph and hail stones up to 2.75 inches in diameter. From the afternoon of June 29 into the early morning of June 30, the Derecho traveled from Indiana, across the Midwest, and into the Mid- Atlantic states. The storm caused 22 deaths and widespread damage across its 800-mile track. Downed trees and flooded roads cut off aid to many parts of hard-hit West Virginia. The Derecho also left millions without power during the June-July heat wave.

A historic lack of snow last winter, combined with several years of below-normal rainfall, produced a devastating drought through much of North America this summer. This drought has reminded many of similar largearea droughts in the 1930s and 1950s. Although this drought has been in place for a shorter time, it has surpassed the most recent comparable North American drought in 1988/1989. Due to crop failure and livestock deaths, this prolonged, multi-year disaster could end up being the most expensive natural disaster in U.S. history.

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