Thursday, July 5, 2012
I survived the Derecho of 2012
A derecho ( //; Spanish pronunciation: [deˈɾetʃo]; duh-RAY-cho) is a widespread, long-lived, straight-line windstorm that is associated with a fast-moving band of severe thunderstorms. Generally, derechos are convection-induced and take on a bow echo form of squall line, forming in an area of divergence in the upper levels of the troposphere, within a region of low-level warm air advection and rich low-level moisture. They travel quickly in the direction of movement of their associated storms, similar to an outflow boundary (gust front), except that the wind is sustained and increases in strength behind the front, generally exceeding hurricane-force. A warm-weather phenomenon, derechos occur mostly in summer, especially during June and July in the Northern Hemisphere, within areas of moderately strong instability and moderately strong vertical wind shear. They may occur at any time of the year and occur as frequently at night as during the daylight hours. (wikipedia)
Y'all, we didn't know it was coming. I received a text from a friend about 45 minutes before it hit, confirming our plans for the next day. He happened to mention the storm and I checked the tv. Earlier in the day, we were told there was a chance of thunderstorm, not that this possible thunderstorm would be like a hurricane (both in force and damage). We cleaned off the deck and went to bed before the full force of the storm hit.
We woke up Saturday morning unaware of the events transpiring around us. Our little section of Fairfax County did not lose power. We had tv, a/c, and water. It wasn't until checking Facebook that I learned what my friends and neighbors were going through. Land lines were down, 911 was down, and cell phone service was non-existent. We opened our house to friends (and profiteered from their fridge items). They left for a hotel that afternoon, and we all took naps.
The staycation that I had planned fell by the wayside. I was able to get some things done around the house, but not as much as I had planned. I was house-bound for a good portion, due to power outages at street lights and businesses, or lack of ability to process credit/debit cards.
We were unbelievably lucky, and when my water heater rusted out on Tuesday, I was only mildly miffed that it happened on the day before a national holiday. But, again, we were lucky that we were able to shower at the pool. While it was inconvenient, it wasn't the end of the world.
My heart goes out to all of those who are still without power, nearly a week later.