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Derecho - The Inland Hurricane

Updated: Feb 1, 2023

A derecho isn't meteorologically anything like a hurricane, but its impact is similar. Instead of winds spinning around a calm centre, the violent winds of a derecho are all lined up at the front and travel in the same direction. The most recent classification criteria is a storm complex (swarm) lasting a while, at least 650 km wide and 100 km deep. It's a 400-mile-wide bulldozer that plows along, possibly giving birth to comparatively weak tornadoes along the way.

The 2022 May derecho moved along about 90 km/h on a four-hour tour of major metropolises: Sarnia to Toronto to Kingston to Ottawa to Montreal to Quebec. That region isn't in the Tornado Alley of the United States nor in the Gulf of Mexico / Florida panhandle area that is regularly hit by hurricanes. Southern Ontario suffered four derechos in 1995 another in 1998, and two more in 2006. A combination of tornadoes and sustained, straight-line winds caused massive damage to buildings and to power transmission lines.

Thankfully, the combination of the Pacific ocean's influence and the generally mountainous topography here, British Columbia is not favourable to the formation of either tornadoes or derechos. Nonetheless, there are occasional wind storms accompanied by devastating rain. In 2006, a super-typhoon on the other side of the Pacific left behind additional moisture which was drawn Northeast across the ocean to BC by a low pressure system. The result was a massive windstorm which blew down approximately 10,000 trees in Stanley Park. Can your existing house withstand this kind of intense wind and rain? If you're planning or designing a house now, will it be designed to accommodate increasingly severe weather events? Book a free, no-obligation Diagnostic Session to discuss your future home's readiness and learn how to ensure that Nature's surprises won't destroy your house.


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