August 16, 2020

Derecho's Trumpet

Over at college graduate Brickmuppet's place, he tells a tale of a disappointed tastebuds as he recently had to deal with a cheeseburger made with cheez wiz.  His disgust is entirely understandable.  A mouthful of such a monstrosity when one is expecting a wonderful beef patty with ketchup, mustard, a small amount of relish, and a delightful amount of proud midwestern-made cheese, would be a horrible experience, akin to expecting a Chicago-style Hot Dog and discovering it topped instead with ketchup and raw wheatgrass.


This tale is bad enough, but he then goes on to mention something about a derecho that brought hurricane-force winds through Iowa, Southern Wisconsin, and the entirety of Illinois last Monday.  The National Weather Service defines a Derecho as "a well-organized and long-lived complex of storms producing a family of particularly damaging downbursts."  Tornadoes are a thing involved with these massive storm fronts, and indeed, two were involved in the Rockford area when the beast rolled through around 3pm.

I've helpfully placed an arrow pointing at the rough location of Duckford and Pond Central.  The NWS did a great job with this thing, as they began warning those of us in the path of the storm that we were in for a spot of bother around 9am.  A couple of hours later, they issued something I had never seen before: a "Particularly Dangerous Situation Severe Thunderstorm Watch".  I had slept in that day, having been up very late playing Fate Grand Order.

It wasn't until 130pm or so that I finally noticed the frantic reports coming from the NWS and the decidedly less-frantic heads-up coming from the best weather team in the area, the good folks over at WREX, the local NBC affiliate.  It was that rather calm unconcerned nature from them that fooled me into thinking this wasn't going to be a big deal, just another thunderstorm, ho-hum.  This is odd, as they are usually quite good about getting their point across when it's going to be a bad one.  Well, it didn't take much longer before my complacency was blown out of the water... almost literally.

While that photo above was taken in Chicago, that same wall o' clouds pretty much came through Duckford.  Seriously, it was well-defined enough that when it passed overhead it felt very much like the space station crossing the terminator line in orbit... one moment it's sunlight, the next it's pitch black.  Remember how I mentioned there were two tornadoes that hit the city?  The larger of them was an EF-1 with 100mph winds that touched down just to the north of Duck U and traveled Northeast, eventually causing more than $500,000 in damage to Duck Valley College, the local JuCo, when it ran over them.  This wasn't a glancing blow, this was a direct hit that went through a number of residential areas.

Duck U is at the orange arrow, the estimated tornado path is the purple line.  Just offscreen to the bottom left is the busiest intersection in the city, State St and Alpine Rd (which is that north-south street just to the left of the tornado start point). Duck Valley College is top-center of the map.  The rest of Duckford got away with only 75-80mph wind gusts, torrential rain... after it was all over, I saw a report of rainfall rates of up to three inches/hour... and much trees and roofs blown around.  State and Alpine is approximately the half-way point between Pond Central (far offscreen to the bottom) and The Old Home Pond (well offscreen to the left), so fortunately both locations were spared the worst of it.  But it did get a little exciting there for a while.  At one point here at Pond Central, I had breezes coming from opposite sides of the apartment at once, which has never happened before.  The weatherstripping on the apartment door couldn't keep the glancing wind gusts out, and the floor-to-ceiling windows/sliding glass door to the balcony are like a huge wind magnet.  Thing is, the windows face south, and the door is in the northwest corner of the apartment, facing west, at the end of a hallway.  Usually the wind has to be coming from the dead north to get in there, and it REALLY has to be blowing for it to leak around the door.  But when THAT is happening, the windows to the south are shielded by the building.  I think it's safe to say that the winds were... "confused" during the storm.  I did prepare my emergency nest in the hallway, just in case of Really Bad Things.

Timelapse of Merely Bad Things from the GOES-EAST weather satellite

Posted by: Wonderduck at 05:05 PM | Comments (5) | Add Comment
Post contains 777 words, total size 6 kb.

1 Great googly moogly, what a storm. Glad you weathered it (ahem) okay!

Posted by: GreyDuck at August 17, 2020 08:12 AM (rKFiU)

2 Wow. That's definitely the kind of storm that's better to read about than to experience.  Glad you came through OK.  Even if you are some kind of freakish monster that prefers midwestern cheese to good Tillamook.

Posted by: David at August 18, 2020 02:52 AM (ZVBMd)

3 Ouch. Two states away, we just had remnants roll through, which were not all that bad.

Posted by: Suburbanbanshee at August 19, 2020 06:33 AM (sF8WE)

4 David, "Tillamook" is a pedigreed dog's name, not a type of cheese.  As much as I rag on my neighbors to the north for being Packers-Loving Subhumans (though I repeat myself), they make good cheese.

Posted by: Wonderduck at August 19, 2020 04:13 PM (D9Okp)

5 Hey now. Seeing as how Tillamook County and its lovely cheesemakers' cooperative are just a couple of counties away from where I sit, I am honorbound to defend their delicious dairy-derived comestibles.

Posted by: GreyDuck at August 20, 2020 08:25 AM (rKFiU)

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