Severe Storms Sweep Across Midweset
Severe thunderstorms likely to produce hurricane-force winds swept across southern Wisconsin and other parts of the Midwest overnight, but the extent of the damage was unclear early Thursday.
The National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center on Wednesday warned that severe weather could affect more than 5.9 million people in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and the Wisconsin cities of Milwaukee, Green Bay, Kenosha, Racine and surrounding areas.
The center later said the storms had the potential to produce “large-scale and potentially significant wind damage.” The Milwaukee Weather Service said the storms have the potential to produce winds in excess of 70 miles per hour and that there is a threat of a tornado in southeastern Wisconsin.
“Any serious weather hazard is possible, but a band of destructive winds, perhaps the force of a hurricane, remains the main threat,” the Milwaukee office said. said on twitter.
Ben Miller, a meteorologist with the Weather Service, said the storm line has the potential to become what is collectively known as a derecho (pronounced deh-REY-cho).
Derechos are widespread windstorms that have the potential to produce damage similar to that which tornadoes can inflict. For a storm system to be considered a derecho, the wind damage strip must extend over 240 miles with wind gusts of at least 58 mph
Last August, a derecho ravaged parts of the Midwest, leaving more than 250,000 people without power in Illinois and Iowa. At least two people have been killed in the inclement weather and millions of acres of crops have been damaged.
The Green Bay Weather Service warned of possible power outages and said storms would most likely move quickly, leaving “little time to seek safe shelter.”
Warnings were also issued for the mid-Atlantic region, where there was an increased risk of severe thunderstorms on Thursday.
“Thunderstorms associated with wind damage and tornado risk will be possible Thursday in the Ohio Valley, central Appalachians and mid-Atlantic states,” according to the weather service.
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