Local Weather History: Every Known Derecho That Has Hit the Viewing Area Since 1900

Deep research has revealed the frequency of derechos within the confines of the WLFI viewing area, their climatology & what types tend to affect us the most.

Posted: Aug 17, 2020 4:55 PM
Updated: Oct 10, 2020 12:01 PM

This is a culmination of months & even years of research in NOAA weather archives & newspaper archives locally, from the state & nationally.

These are all of the complexes of storms that meet derecho criteria in our area.



1.  Consistent, widespread wind damage path swath greater than 250 miles.

2.  Wind gusts 58 mph or greater along the entire path of the line.

3.  Persistent pockets of 75 mph or greater gusts.

4.  Long-lived event with lack of weakening along entire path with very fast movement of at least 50 mph along much of the path.


1.  Progressive Derecho

a.  Occurs on the periphery of hot upper ridge in the "Ring of Fire" usually in the summer.

b.  Sparked by shortwave &/or MCV on periphery of upper ridge

c.  Often single-bowed with lower width than other derecho types.

d.  Typical of explosive environments with deep instability in hotter times of the year.

e.  These tend to track in a southeastward direction.

2.  Serial Derecho

a.  Occurs with larger-scale storm system (surface low, cold front & warm front).

b.  Often multiple-bows with this type of derecho.

c.  Much larger width compared to Progressive Derecho.

d.  More typical of the cool-season in winter, spring or fall, compared to summer.

e.  Often lower instability, but high speed & directional shear to compensate.

f.  These tend to move east to northeastward.

3.  Hybrid Derecho

a.  Has features of both Progressive & Serial Derechos

b.  Can be with larger-scale storm systems on periphery of intense heat.

c.  Can also be a smaller-scale single bow derecho in a large scale storm system.

d.  They may vary in movement; east, northeast or southeast.

Illustration below courtesy of NOAA & Dennis Cain:


2020s:  1

2010s:  5

2000s:  3

1990s:  3

1980s:  2

1970s:  2

1960s:  2

1950s:  1

1940s:  1

1930s:  2

1920s:  5

1910s:  2

1900s:  2

The most common derecho to impact the viewing area is the Single Bow Progressive Derecho, which occurs in the "Ring of Fire" pattern on the periphery of an upper ridge, usually with an intense heat wave.

The 1910s & 1990s were unique in that no Progressive Derechos hit the area.  They were mostly cool-season Serial Derecho events, while one Hybrid Derecho event occurred.

Most of our derechos tend to occur June-August.

In fact, the most frequent occurrence & peak of derecho season is July 1.

The decade of the 1920s & 2010s saw the greatest number of derechos impacting our area with 5.



1.  August 10, 2020

"Flat Corn" Single Bow Progressive Derecho

Max Gust In Our Viewing Area:  M81 mph 5 Miles WNW Kentland

Track length: Approximately 631 miles

Maximum width:  Approximately 220 miles

This particular derecho produced measured winds of up to 126 mph in Iowa with damage showing some areas seeing gusts to 140 mph.  100 mph wind gusts occurred in Illinois with 15 confirmed tornadoes.  Up to 45% of the corn crop in Iowa was lost as millions of acres were flattened by the wind.  Some counties lost 90% of their crop.

Three tornadoes occurred in Indiana, including an EF0 north of Kentland just east-northeast of where a gust of 81 mph was measured (sustained winds at 68 mph).  Power outages extended more than a week in Iowa & parts of northwestern Illinois.  In our area, widespread 50-70 mph winds (isolated +70 mph) occurred with some degree of wind damage reported in every county of the viewing area with numerous power outages. 



1.  June 18, 2010

Single Bow Progressive Derecho

Max Gust In Our Viewing Area:  M80 mph 1 SW Battle Ground

Track length:  Approximately 665 miles

Maximum width:  Approximately 230 miles

Another severe weather outbreak in the very active first half of June 2010, this derecho brought winds of up to 80 mph to the area.  Several homes & one church reported roof damage in the area from overall 55-80 mph winds.  70 mph gust northeast of Winamac was accompanied by nickel-sized hail.  A gust of 64 mph was measured at WLFI with limbs down, while multiple trees were blown down at nearby Celery Bog & McCormick Woods. Some White Oak trees toppled on the northeast end of McCormick woods were 160 years old (rings counted after they were cut-up from trail).  A semi was blown over on Route 28 in Clinton County, while numerous trees & limbs fell onto homes & cars across the viewing area.

Winds of up to near 90 mph occurred in Iowa through Illinois to northern Indiana where 5 miles northwest of LaPorte, a gust reaching the 90 mph mark was reported. 

For some reason, not all of the LSRs from the event are plotted on the SPC map below, but the reports are listed in the National Climate Data Center archives.

2.  April 19, 2011

Multi-Bow Serial Derecho

Max Gusts In Our Viewing Area:  E90 mph Southeast of Mulberry

Track length:  Approximately 781 miles

Maximum width:  Approximately 302 miles

A spring event that accompanied a large frontal system, this multi-bow derecho from Texas & Arkansas to Ohio & western Pennsylvania to eastern Kentucky brought widespread damage.  Straight-line winds of 120 mph occurred over southeastern Illinois' White & Hamilton counties for the highest non-tornadic winds of the derecho.  Other impressive gusts included 102 mph in Licking County, Ohio & 100 mph near Bowling Green, Kentucky.

Trees, powerlines & minor roof damage to some homes occurred area-wide with widespread 60-80 mph gusts with some +85 mph gusts.  Damage was reported in every county.

Two tornadoes occurred in the viewing area from embedded mesocirculations of the derecho in the viewing area.  One tornado had an unusually long-track for such a system with consistent EF1 strength for three counties before dropping to EF0 for the last 9.23 miles (of the 31.2-mile track) over the 4th county.  This tornado raced east-northeastward from central Vermillion County, Indiana to the west side of Crawfordsville, in Montgomery County.  A brief rain-wrapped EF0 tornado damaged a barn near Buck Creek.

A pole barn was destroyed near Royal Center, as well as Wheatfield, a hog barn damaged in Talbot (Benton County), barn damage occurred near Grass Creek (Fulton County) while another was completely destroyed near Wagoner (Fulton County).  A farm tool shed & grain bin were leveled at Talbot & a metal shed damaged at Atkinson & Templeton (west-northwest of Montmorenci).  20 cars at the Miami Correctional Facility near Bunker Hill had their windows blown out, as did many surrounding residences from the extreme winds.  Debri from one barn damaged near Twelve Mile (Cass County) was blown 1/8 mile & some metal was wrapped around a power pole. A grain elevator was destroyed & part of a building blown down at Mulberry, while a home was extensively damaged, as well, while multiple trucks were overturns on I-65 with numerous barns, grain bins & grain elevators damaged or destroyed in Clinton to Boone counties.  At Trinity Mission, a garage & shed was destroyed with a flag pole downed, while the building sustained damage.

Some gusts reported:

80 mph 1 Mile North of Crawfordsville...75 mph Monticello; Twelve Mile...70 mph Thayer (Newton County)...69 mph Royal Center...64 mph Goodland...62 mph Battle Ground...60 mph Kentland; Wheatfield

3.  June 29, 2012

Single Bow Progressive Derecho

Max Gust:  E70 mph Multiple Locations Northern Jasper, Carroll, Miami & Fountain Counties

Track length: Approximately 1040 miles

Maximum width: Approximately 417 miles

As we have seen time & time again in researching these derechos, they are deadly & highly-damaging.  22 were killed in this event with damaging amounting to nearly $3 billion.

This derecho began in northeastern Iowa with up to +1" hail, quickly followed by wind gusts of 60 mph.  Hail & gusts to 65 mph occurred as the storm moved through the Chicago area with trees & trees limbs, as well a powerlines, downed.

In our viewing area, multiple locations in northern Jasper County reported limbs & trees down as the derecho moved through.  Carroll County reported trees & powerlines down with winds up to 70 mph, while more trees & powerlines were downed in Howard County with similar gusts.  An empty 500-gallon water tank was blown 1000' in Tipton County, while several injuries were reported near the Howard/Clinton/Tipton line from a tree that fell on a truck.  Gusts were estimated at 70 mph.  Shingles were blown off of roofs with trees & powerlines downed near Bunker Hill in Miami County, while limbs & trees were down in other parts of the county, including Denver, Peoria & Macy to Amboy.  1" hail was reported in southwest Tippecanoe & northeastern Fountain counties.  Hail of up to golfball size occurred southeast of Pine Village in Warren County & multiple reports in our archives show golfball hail & winds to 70 mph north of Covington, in Fountain County.  These same storms produced baseball to large apple-sized hail in eastern Vermilion County, Illinois as supercell they exploded on the tail end of the evolving derecho. 

In a sampling of reports, a 91 mph gust was measured at the Fort Wayne International Airport.  These gusts continued southeastward. 

It became one of the costliest disasters in the past 80 years in Ohio.  In northwest Ohio's Paulding County, a gust of 86 mph was measured at Antwerp, while 92 mph gust occurred west of Van Wert.  Winds near 90 mph occurred elsewhere from Putnam to Defiance & Henry counties.  In Guernsey County, the 150-year old clock tower blew off of the courthouse, while a church collapsed & multiple buildings in the city of Cambridge were damaged.  A wind gust of 106 mph was measured before the pole attached to the anemometers snapped 1 mile west of Birds Run in Guernsey County.  1 person was killed & another injured when a barn collapsed in Muskingum County, while in Noble County, Ohio, numerous 80' pines were snapped off 40-50' up from the damaging winds near Hiramsburg.  A large pole barn was destroyed near London, Ohio.  In Lorain County, several homes sustained damage, while Findlay, Ohio saw 464 structures damaged or destroyed with 4 four trucks overturned by the winds on I-75 just south of the city & 75% of the county lost power.  In Wyandot County, hundreds of thousand of trees were reportedly downed across the county.  Business were damaged, some significantly.  The Ohio State University Airport in Columbus measured a gust of 82 mph.  Extensive damage was done to farms & farm crops in the surrounding countryside & in the city of Columbus.  "Hundreds of buildings" in Marion County, Ohio were damaged or destroyed with this same type of damage extending eastward into neighboring counties suggesting +90 & even +100 mph gusts.  Major damage occurred to 28 homes in Meigs County with several mobile homes rolled & destroyed.  Downtown Celina saw damage to buildings & a church lost its steeple at Rockford, Ohio.  Shelters were set up in several counties, as intensely muggy, hot weather created a danger from lack of air conditioning & temperatures reached as high as 105 ahead of the derecho in Ohio.

Even in Kentucky, widespread damage occurred in the northeastern part of the state (with much structural damage) with one person killed in Clark County, Kentucky. 

A gust of 88 mph occurred in Ritchie County, West Virginia with widespread damage across the state, which continued into Virginia.  12 people alone were injured in Fincastle County.  Widespread 60-90 mph winds struck with widespread, prolonged power outages.  Mt. Vernon, Virgina gusted to 76 mph, 82 mph Dahlgren, 87 mph near Wintergreen, Virginia, 79 mph Reston & D.C.'s Dulles Airport measured a gust of 71 mph.  66 mph gust was recorded at Baltimore-Washington Airport.

A 77 mph gust was measured at Swan Point, Maryland

A 74 mph gust was measured at Absecon, Atlantic County, New Jersey & 81 mph at Tuckerton (Ocean County).

A second bow of severe storms developed behind the derecho on its outflow boundary back edge in Iowa.  The first structural damage occurred east of Des Moines with a barn destroyed in Poweshiek County a nearby gust of 72 mph was measured at Grinnell. Gusts of 80-90 mph occurred with widespread damage in east-central Iowa to trees, powerlines, crops & multiple structures. Gusts of 60-80 mph were reported across northwest Illinois with many trees & powerlines downed with minor structural damage. A gust of 92 mph was measured west of Oswego (Kendall County), with similar gusts extending into rural Will County, snapping off large oaks near the base & unroofing barns & machine sheds. The National Weather Service Office in Will County measured a gust of 87 mph with numerous trees & limbs downed. The storms weakened with eastward extent as they encountered the overturned airmass & more stable, rain-cooled air from the derecho.

4.  June 12-13, 2013

Single Bow Progressive Derecho

Max Gust:  M81 mph Grissom Air Reserve Base; Mt. Ayr (Jasper County)

Track length:  Approximately 811 Miles

Maximum width: Approximately 255 Miles

This derecho began as supercells with large hail & even a high-end EF3 tornado southwest of Mason City, Iowa with winds to 155 mph.  It became more & more wind dominant with southeastward progression with 92 mph wind gusts in Dekalb County, Illinois & 82 mph north & northeast of Madison, Wisconsin. 

Gusts of 100 mph in Lake County, Indiana, 90 mph near Wabash & 92 mph in northern Kankakee County, Illinois, this derecho brought widespread wind damage to the northern 3/4 of the viewing area.  1 mile southwest of Wolcott, winds were sustained +45 mph with gusts to 65 mph for +15 minutes as swath of 50-80 mph gusts raced through.  A hog barn was partially destroyed near Chili (Miami County) with a nearby home seeing part of the roof blown off.  One large tree fell on a house northeast of Athens (Fulton County).  Much of the damage was to trees & powerlines with many roads made impassable.  A long stretch of power poles & lines fell between County Roads 500 & 600 North south of Macy (Miami County).  Overall, wind damage was reported in Newton, Jasper, Pulaski, Fulton, White, Carroll, Clinton, Cass, Miami & Howard counties.

Damaging winds & some brief tornadoes continued across Ohio to West Virginia, Maryland & even just west & south of D.C.

3 people were injured in this event, but there were thankfully no deaths.

5.  June 22-23, 2016

Nocturnal Single Bow Progressive Derecho

Max Gust In Our Viewing Area: M100 mph  4 Miles Northwest of Battle Ground....E100 mph Brookston area

Track length:  Approximately 692 miles

Maximum width:  Approximately 195 miles

After beginning as a massive supercell with numerous tornadoes in Illinois (began like the 2004 derecho with F4 in Woodford County, Illinois) this derecho produced winds up to 100 mph in southern White & northern Tippecanoe counties with gusts to near 90 in southeastern Tippecanoe County.  Damage was extensive to crops, trees & farmsteads with widespread, long-lasting power outages.  Brookston area was particularly hard hit with 300 trees lost in the town.  The Wolcott area was also hard hit & even areas to western Tippecanoe County saw winds gusting to 70 mph.

In typical derecho fashion, winds continued to gust +75 mph southeastward with gusts of 80 mph from an ODOT station near Wilmington, Ohio & in Nicholas County, West Virginia.  Gust up to 110 mph occurred near Stinson, in Calhoun County, West Virginia.  A few brief tornadoes also occurred from eastern Indiana through Ohio to West Virginia. 

As with several derechos in our viewing area's weather history, this was a night-time event & much of the tornadic activity occurred early in the evolution of the event as supercells in Illinois merged.  In total 24 tornadoes occurred, most of them EF0-EF1.  However, one of the EF2s occurred in Huntington County, Indiana.

6 people were injured in this derecho, but thankfully, no one was killed.



1.  August 9, 2000

"Appalachian Crossing" Single-Bow Progressive Derecho

Max Gust In Our Viewing Area: E70 mph Monticello

Track length: Approximately 909 miles

Maximum width: Approximately 230 miles

This August 9-10, 2000 period featured a double derecho, like seen in several 1930s events & in the July 1970 event.  There was also an event like this in the 2013 derecho with two in a row.  As typical, the second occurred south of the first, forming on the tail end of the initial one. 

Our derecho hit August 9 in the 7-9 a.m. time frame & continued to the Carolina & Virginia Coast by 8-9 p.m., while the other developed & crossed the Appalachians again during the evening & night of the 9-10th.

In this derecho, the first severe gusts occurred in far eastern Iowa with a corn field completely flattened near Wyman.  A gust of 63 mph was measured at Washington (southwest of Davenport).  A tree was blown onto powerlines at Galesburg, Illinois.  Just west of our area, a gust of 58 mph occurred at Watseka.  

In our viewing area, the Monticello area saw "numerous trees & powerlines down".  Sporadic tree damage occurred from Lockport to near Burrows & Deacon (northern Carroll to southern Cass counties).  This wind damage became widespread & consistent from Madison to Hamilton & Marion counties, points east & southeastward.

The widespread damage continued from that area southeastward with one home collapsing from the extreme winds south of Columbus, Ohio, while a radio tower was toppled near Zanesville, Ohio.  Homes were damaged in West Virginia, while large regional power outages occurred in Ohio & through West Virginia to Virginia.  Hundreds of trees were knocked down across multiple counties in Ohio, including around 100 in West Portsmouth alone (town of 3149 people in Scioto County).  Nearly every road in the county had felled trees on it, according to NOAA archives.  A roof was blown off a strip mall near Dublin, Ohio, while a large tent at Ohio State University was felled, injuring 4 workers. Significant wind damage in West Virginia occurred in Webster County with earmarks of 100 mph gusts.  The Charleston, West Virginia Airport measured a gust of 61 mph, while near Dulles Airport (D.C.), a gust of 66 mph was clocked.

1 person was killed & 10 injured in the derecho.


2.  July 8, 2001

Single Bow Progressive Derecho

Max Gust In Our Viewing Area:  E100 mph Near Bunker Hill 

Track length:  Approximately 805 miles

Maximum width:  Approximately 221 miles

A significant derecho, originating in eastern Nebraska, blasted through Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina & northern South Carolina before diminishing.  Multiple gusts reached 75 mph in Iowa with even gusts of +80 mph in Jones County, the county just east of Cedar Rapids.  Extensive damage occurred at Hoopeston, Illinois with gusts of 85 mph causing damage of $12.5 million (inflation-adjusted).
Wind gusted to 69 mph at Fowler & Enos, 68 mph at the Purdue University Airport, 67 mph 3 miles south of Wolcott & 64 mph at Greentown. Gusts of 70 mph were reported in western Boone County. An embedded microburst produced an unconfirmed gust to 100 mph near Bunker Hill. Widespread wind damage occurred with trees & powerlines downed with some barn & roof damage in nearly every county. In Clymers (Cass County) a garage was blown off of its foundation & 5 homes were damaged. Windows were blown out of the Howard County courthouse. In Lafayette, a girl’s neck was broken when a tree fell on her car. A measured gust of 81 mph was recorded at the Anderson, Indiana municipal airport & a gust of 85 mph was recorded in southern Madison County with damage to a farm.  Indianapolis International Airport measured a wind gust to 60 mph.
The derecho continued on to produce winds of 60-80 mph (isolated +80 mph) in southern Indiana & Kentucky with a gust of 92 mph at Louisville ripping off part of a large steel hangar roof at the Louisville International Airport (Standiford Field at that time).  A gust of 86 mph was reported Lexington with other +85 mph gusts in nearby Madison County.  Even at Asheville, North Carolina a measured gust of 81 mph occurred as the derecho passed.

2 people were killed & 7 injured from this derecho.

3.  July 13, 2004

Single Bow Progressive Derecho

Max Gust In Our Viewing Area:  M72 mph Kingman (Fountain County)

Track length:  Approximately 875 miles

Maximum width:  Approximately 215 miles

This, like the 1998 Corn Belt Derecho, raked our southwestern & southern areas, sparing the rest of the viewing area.  It began as a massive supercell with very large hail & one significant F4 tornado in Illlinois, then evolved to the widespread, significant, damaging winds.

Gusts of 90 mph were reported in eastern Champaign County, Illinois with at least 40 homes & additional multiple businesses sustaining minor to major damage.  Grain bins & elevators were damaged & a semi was blown over on I-57.

Multiple gusts around 90 mph occurred in Robertson & Montgomery counties in Tennessee with multiple gusts around 85 mph in central & eastern Kentucky.  Bowling Green measured a gust of 84 mph as the derecho passed. 

In our viewing area, Warren, Fountain & Montgomery counties saw wind damage with gust of 72 mph in southern Fountain County.  Damage to trees, crops & powerlines was widespread in these counties.

The derecho reached the Atlanta metro after midnight on July 14 with the last severe gusts of 63 mph.



1.  October 29, 1996

Single Bow Serial Derecho

Max Gust In Our Viewing Area:  M77 mph Grissom Air Reserve Base

Track length:  Approximately 576 miles

Maximum width:  Approximately 240 miles

This derecho began in southern Minnesota & then swept southeast to east-southeastward, really organizing & congealing once it reached southwestern Wisconsin & eastern Iowa, where widespread 70-80 mph gusts occurred.  60-80 mph (isolated +85 mph) gusts became widespread across northern & central Illinois while an embedded supercell in the top of the line produced large hail in southern Wisconsin. Corn still left in the field in many areas was flattened, as were some soybeans.

In a small sampling of damage reports, a 300' radio tower was toppled near Rockford, Illinois, while a machine shed was completely destroyed in Livingston County, a Bass Pro Shop store saw substantial roof damage in McHenry County, an apartment building was damaged in Calumet Park, Illinois, a home in West Chicago was partially unroofed, semis were overturned on I-88 & I-57 with some drivers injured in northern & central Illinois.  In Indiana, the free-standing walls of the Cedarville School under construction where blown down, while windows were blown out of buildings & business in Fort Wayne.  Windows were blown out of the Elks Country Club in Kendallville, while a person was injured when a tree fell on their moving vehicle in La Grange County & a large restaurant sign was blown down at Schererville.  Winds of 85 mph were measured in Jay County, Indiana.

In a small Ohio sampling, a landfill in Wayne County had to be briefly closed with large pieces of metal & tin began flying through the air as the storm struck.  Multiple accidents & injuries were reported from construction barrels flying on I-80 in Mahoning County, Ohio, while a church was damaged in Toledo & up to 30% of the corn crop was lost in Sandusky County.  One Ohio car dealership has its windows blown out.

Widespread damaging winds over every county continued through Indiana & into Ohio at largely 60-85 mph.

Widespread, countywide wind damage was reported in every single county of the viewing area.  Several roads were blocked by fallen trees, limbs & debri for a couple of days.  Power was out up to 3 days in the area.  Trees fell on homes & vehicles over many parts of a the area with a sampling including a tree falling on a house at Veedersburg causing roof damage, a tree crushing a camper at Concord & a large tree crushing part of a house at Logansport.  Corn still left out in the field was flattened to the ground in many areas.

Strong gradient winds of +50 mph occurred at times behind the line of storms.

2.  June 29, 1998

Single Bow Hybrid Derecho

Max Gust In Our Viewing Area: E70 mph Warren, Fountain Counties

Track length: Approximately 772 miles

Maximum width: Approximately 232 miles

In a sampling of reports, this derecho produced a gust of 126 mph in Washington County, Iowa, 104 mph Johnston, 87 mph Dallas County, 78 mph at Muscatine, Iowa & then 100 mph in Chickasaw County.  1 person was killed & many, many more injured in Iowa with the National Guard called into some counties to assist in clean-up.  265 homes were damaged to destroyed in Washington County, Iowa, while 60 businesses reported damage.  280 homes in Johnson County, Iowa were heavily damaged & another 180 in Louisa County.  A motel at Muscatine lost its entire roof, while tens of thousands of trees were downed in the path of the storm.  Some of the trees felled were reportedly 200 years old.  Hundreds of thousands of acres of crops were damaged or destroyed across the state.  In Monona County, a restaurant was destroyed & nearby metal grain bin downed.  At least 38 counties were declared Federal Disaster areas.

Warren County, Illinois was hit hard with winds of at least 80 mph across the entire county, while a gust of 109 mph occurred in McDonough County. 

Core of winds at 100-111 mph occurred in Dewitt County, & also in Champaign County, Illinois.  21 freight cars were blown off the tracks & a mobile home was destroyed near Tolono, Illinois.  Even in southeastern Illinois, gusts of 100 mph occurred in Lawrence County, bending steel powerline towers, blowing over frieght cars & blowing roofs off of homes & businesses. 

Just like in many of the historic derechos researched, on the tail end of this one, flooding rainfall occurred.  Significant flash flooding occurred over southwestern Illinois as +5" rainfall fell on wet soils.  4.70" rainfall occurred in 2 hours at Du Quoin, Illinois, southeast of St. Louis.  Downtown Carbondale's city hall & new civic center was flooded with cars submerged all around the area.  24 buildings on the campus of Southern Illinois University at Carbondale saw basements & lower floors flooded.  The Recreation Center, with indoor basketball & raquetball courts, suffered the greatest damage.

Widespread trees, powerlines were reported across much of the state, except the northeast.  Some homes & farm buildings were damaged by winds of up to 80 mph.  Hardest hit areas were in Hendricks, Marion, Lawrence & Knox counties. 

Known as the "Corn Belt Derecho", this hit the southwestern half of the viewing area with trees & powerlines down countywide in Warren & Fountain counties & large power outages.  Several trees & limbs were also blown down in southern Benton County.  Some 1" hail accompanied the wind in Warren & southern Benton counties.  This occurred on the periphery of the intense heat & drought over the Southeast U.S. & southern Plains to Texas (all of these areas saw historic, record drought & heat with widespread wildfires May-July 1998 with so much smoke that our skies were pale, hazy gray & brown & the sun was simmed significantly at times in June).  However, a substantial frontal system with deepening surface low & warm & cold fronts was also pivoting through the area on the periphery of that hot ridge.  This made it a hybrid derecho.

161 people were injured & 1 killed in this derecho with total damage from Nebraska to Kentucky reaching near $600 million (inflation-adjusted).  Of the 161 injured, 86 of those injured were in the tornadoes of the event.  Of those 86, 83 were injured in the Des Moines metro F2 tornado.  That tornado moved southeastward through suburban Des Moines & with an 18.3-mile track lifting on the northwest side of downtown Des Moines.

3.  December 6, 1998

Single Bow Serial Derecho

Max Gust In Our Viewing Area:  M89 mph Grissom Air Reserve Base

Track length: Approximately 627 miles

Maximum width: Approximately 205 miles

Near all-time record warmth for December (only 1982 was as warm or warmer) preceded this derecho that was racing eastward, hit the area after dark on December 6 of 1998. Trees & powerlines were blown down & minor structural damage over much of the area except our northwestern counties as bow pivoted northeastward from the south west with one tornado reported in the comma heat in Vermilion County, Illinois.  Widespread winds of 60 to near 90 mph occurred with the bow. 

In a sampling, power poles, signs & one pole barn were blown down in Edgar County, Illinois with many trees & powerlines blown down near Hoopeston, while two farm machine sheds were destroyed, along with outbuildings & grain bins on two farms near Blair, Illinois (southern Illinois' Randolph County).  2 x 4s were driven through a nearby vacant home on one of the farms.  In Indiana, widespread wind damage occurred with trees, powerlines & roof damage.  A barn was demolished in Frankton, while a mobile home was blown off its foundation in Henry County.  The roof was completely blown off a Super 8 Motel in Martinsville, Indiana, while a sign was blown off a pizza parlor nearby, damaging 30 automobiles at a downwind dealership.  A roof was torn off a tool shed at Coesse, in Whitley County, while a barn lost its roof near Columbia City amidst many trees & powerlines downed.

Significant roof damage occurred to University Hall at Purdue with gust at the nearby airport clocking 77 mph (gusts across Tippecanoe County measured at 72-77 mph).  A 35-car freight train was blown off the tracks in Carroll County near Rockfield & a Total Discount Store, restaurant & church suffered structural damage in Logansport.  A grain bin was blown down at Walton, while the roof was blown off of a farm cooperative warehouse near Grissom ARB & a barn lost part of its roof near Bunker Hill.  A mobile home was destroyed & another damaged at Peru.  Widespread wind damage was concentrated from Chili to Bunker Hill with signs of gusts near 90 mph. 

Missing in SPC storm report archives, but all reports are up in the archives in the National Climate Database. I took these reports & plotted them on the map below.



1.  July 4-5, 1980

"More Trees Down" Nocturnal Single Bow Progressive Derecho

Max Gust In the WLFI Viewing Area: E105 mph 12 NW Fowler

Track length: Approximately 720 miles

Maximum width: Approximately 236 miles

Known as the "More Trees Down" derecho, this derecho was aptly named as it toppled tens of thousands of trees along its path.  However, it struck area that had repeatedly been hit with severe weather since early June over & over on periphery of hot upper ridge (very similar pattern in June 2010).  More & more trees were knocked down in every succession of severe weather events & outbreaks.  This one took even more trees out.

The derecho began with wind gusts of up to 90 mph, large hail & some tornadoes in northeastern Kansas & southeastern Nebraska to southwestern Iowa.  3 persons were injured near Hancock, Iowa when the wind overturned campers at a park.  +80 mph winds occurred at Burlington, Fort Madison, Fairfield, New London, Mt. Pleasant in Iowa with windows broken, damaged roofs, uprooted trees , damaged cars & downed powerlines.

U.S. Weather Bureau reported the "entire state" of Illinois was then blasted by damaging winds of the derecho in the coming hours.  They stated in their summary, "The strong winds uprooted trees, which crushed cars and roofs, broke power lines, destoyed farm outbuildings and overturned many mobile homes" across the state.  2 people were injured when mobile homes & a camper trailer were overturned in Adams County.  17 mobile homes were overturned & other homes "severely damaged" in Morgan County, Illinois.  2 people were injured in Henry & Woodford counties when mobile homes were overturned.  Another person was injured by a fallen tree in Mercer County, while areas of corn fields were completely flattened in McLean County.  This was one report of many regarding crop damage to tens & tens of thousands of acres.  5 people were injured in Bureau County.  Structural damage occurred in the Chicago area with 60 large trees alone uprooted or snapped at the base in one area of Niles.  In southern Illinois, at Carbondale, roof damage to homes & businesses was extensive with some roofs completely removed from structures, including one that destroyed a car & truck when it flew off a building & crushed both vehicles.   

A gust of 63 mph was measured at the Quad City Airport at Rock Island, Illinois as storms crossed into Illinois around midnight.    A measured gust of 73 mph followed in northwestern Illinois as the derecho raced east & southeastward.  The Peoria Airport measured at gust of 67 mph, followed by 73 mph at DeKalb, Illinois.  65 mph gust was then recorded at O'Hare Airport in Chicago, while Hoopeston measured gust of 60 mph. 

Striking a 5 a.m., damage began in our area with an impressive 6' x 6' beam driven deep through a house 12 miles northwest of Fowler.  An entire barn was picked up & thrown 250' & garage picked up & thrown over the house.  A steel windmill bent, twisted a full turn & downed.  Trees were downed & large acreage of corn flattened.  Using a wind damage guide from NWS, this would all equate to wind of up to 105 mph.  This seemed to be the apex of the derecho looking at the map & the trajectory of the bow.  Trees & powerlines were reported down & cars damaged at Kentland, Morocco & Rensselaer to near Crawfordsville 5-5:30 a.m.  A mobile home was demolished at Sheridan.  A 62 mph wind gust was measured at Grissom ARB with other widespread damage over the viewing area.  Trees & powerlines were downed in White, Tippecanoe, Clinton, Cass & Miami counties. 

In just a sampling of Indiana reports, 2 people were injured in Kosciusko County where homes were damaged & trees & powerlines were downed.  Thousands of trees were blown down near Wakarusa with many outbuildings damaged or destroyed.  Four homes were destroyed & 15 damaged by winds of at least 80 mph at Elkhart.  3 people were injured.  At 6:20 a.m., 25 large, mature trees were blown down at a country club in Noble County, while several boats & a house were damaged.  4 people were injured near Wolcottville, in LaGrange County with "many houses/mobile homes severely damaged."  2 homes were destroyed & 14 heavily damaged & 63 received minor damage (4 mobile homes destroyed & 37 damaged), as well as "several businesses" were damaged at Fort Wayne. "Several people" were injured.  Roofs were damaged near Columbia City by +80 mph winds, while a wind of 68 mph sustained with gust to 80 mph was measured at Bluffton, in Wells County.  The Fort Wayne Airport measured a gust of 67 mph, while Indianapolis International measured 58 mph gust.  A total of 4 additional people were injured in Marshall & LaGrange counties.

Storms tended to diminish with progression over western Ohio & northern Kentucky as low-level jet weakened & veered by 9 a.m., but a gust of 81 mph still occurred near Louisville, Kentucky.

You can see the backwards "C" shape of the derecho at 7 a.m.  Also, note the 7 a.m. surface observation at Fort Wayne:  winds sustained (not gust) at 40 knots (48 mph).

2.  July 19-20, 1983

Single Bow Progressive Derecho

Max Gust In the WLFI Viewing Area:  E70 mph Demotte & Multiple Areas of White, Clinton, Carroll counties

Track length:  Approximately 1000 miles

Maximum width:  Approximately 202 miles

This derecho began on periphery of intense heat wave (it was one of the hottest summers on record for our area) with half-dollar hail, funnel clouds & wind gusts up to 90 mph.  A gust of 74 mph was measured at Minot AFB, where hangars were damaged, power poles were knocked over & shingles torn from roofs.  Corn & wheat were flattened & a farm in Barnes County.  A nearby farm saw grain bin damage & roof off storage shed. 

The derecho strengthened over Minnesota with a sampling of reports including: a wind gust of 117 mph measured at the Alexandria Airport with four planes destroyed & a fifth damaged.  Nearby motel roofs were blown off & many trees downed.  Severe damage also occurred in Stearns County where +120 mph gusts likely to have occurred.  One mobile home was completely destroyed, injuring 4 people.  In the village of St. Martin, 6 barns were leveled & 10 homes damaged.  A farm was heavily damaged nearby with outbuildings & barns destroyed & the farm house damaged.  5000 chickens were also killed.  4 airport hangars near Princeton, Minnesota were completely destroyed, while 3 people in the area were injured by flying debri.  The most expensive power repair in 74 years (at the time) for central Minnesota, 250,000 people were without power in the Minneapolis area alone following the storm.  

The derecho then raked Wisconsin.  In a sampling of gathered reports from press & the National Weather Service archives, thousands of acres of crops were damaged or destroyed, homes, buildings, cars damaged & tens of thousands of trees downed, along with many power poles, lines & even high-tension towers.  Lake cottages were damaged or destroyed, including those along Lake Wapogasset, from 100 mph wind gusts.  In Pierce County, the winds were strong enough to completely flip a car over on its top.  Winds gusted 80-90 mph in Dunn County & "severe tree damage" was reported across Chippewa County where a barn was destroyed & 14 houses & 5 businesses in Hallie were damaged.  Eau Claire Airport measured a gust of 63 mph, while an airplane hanger was destroyed at the Chenek Airport by 90 mph winds.  A gust of 76 mph was measured at the La Crosse National Weather Service office.  In Marathon County, 23 mobile homes were blown over, injuring 6 people.  38 homes were damaged in Reston & 6 industries saw significant damage.  One farm had most buildings & barns destroyed.  Another 3 people were injured in Saratoga when their mobile home was destroyed with many homes, garages & outbuildings damaged.  Major tree damage was reported in the town of Sparta with nearly 95% of the street trees lost.  Extensive structural & tree damage continued with several buildings damaged on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus.  The roof of a hangar was blown off at the National Air Guard at the Madison Airport.  Neenah, Wisconsin saw a wind gust of 80 mph.  Ripon College campus buildings were damaged & 6 people injured.  A 500-gallon gas tank was blown over & ruptured.  In the town of Ashford, NWS reported that "every residence received some form of wind damage", while a farm was badly damaged by estimated +120 mph wind gusts near Mount Calvary.  A roof was blown off a restaurant at Watertown, while another mobile home was completely destroyed at Hickory Hill.  A 10-mile long swath of +100 mph winds occurred in Manitowoc County with 5 towns seeing extensive damage.  A freight train was derailed near Cleveland, Wisconsin.  24 homes were damaged in one subdivision at Waukesha (estimated winds to 110 mph) & a 75 mph wind gust was measured at the Rock County Airport. 

A gust was then measured at 87 mph Deerfield, Illinois.  Tree, power line & minor building was reported across the "northeastern section" of Illinois, according to NWS at the time.  A high-tension tower line was blown down at Elgin, Illinois.  Gusts of 70 mph were common across the Chicago area with many trees & limbs downed.  A 62 mph wind gust was measured in Berrien County, Michigan.  Numerous roads were blocked by fallen trees, limbs & powerlines in southwestern Michigan.

In Indiana, the derecho raced into our northwestern counties, downing trees & powerlines.  Trees & power lines were downed & farm buildings sustained minor damage county-wide in Jasper, White, Boone, Clinton & Carroll counties.  A gust of 70 mph was reported at Demotte, while trees & large limbs were reportedly downed in central Pulaski County.

Windows were blown out of buildings in downtown Indianapolis, injuring one from falling glass as the winds roared in.  Also, part of the roof of the nearly-completed Hoosier Dome in Indianapolis was ripped apart.  Large trees were uprooted reportedly across all of Hamilton, Putnam, Hendricks & Johnson counties with multiple county roads & highways blocked.  Several areas of flattened corn fields were reported, especially in Hendricks County.

Multiple reports of trees occurred in several counties in central & southeastern Kentucky. 

Substantial rises on the Indiana & southwestern Lower Michigan side of Lake Michigan were reported as a seiche or rogue wave occurred with the derecho.



July 2, 1970

Single Bow Progressive Derecho

Max Gust In the WLFI Viewing Area:  E90 mph East Side of Lafayette

Track length: Approcimately 1200 miles

Maximum width: Approximately 345 miles

Once again, not all reports from NCDC are plotted on the SPC map below & I found many other reports in press over much of the state of Iowa, Illinois, Indiana & Ohio to add to the map (in addition to other reports from the U.S. Weather Bureau at the time).

Its origins in northwest Iowa, this derecho produced upwards of $1 million in damage at Des Moines with a gust of 75 mph measured at the airport, while 3 people were injured in Johnson County, Iowa. 30% of the crops were heavily damaged or lost in Floyd County, Iowa.  In Sac County, Iowa, it was reportedly "the worst storm in 75 years" with wind gusts of 100 mph. 140,000 acres of crops in Plymouth County Iowa saw at least 80% loss. There were other injuries & deaths in the storm from eastern Iowa. The storms plowed through Illinois, then hit Indiana with widespread damage across most counties in the central, eastern & northern parts of the state.

In a sampling of reports, hangars were damaged or destroyed & two planes destroyed at the Michigan City Airport. Windows were blown out of a store & a two ton bell blown off & thrown at a fire station in LaPorte. A trailer court saw extensive damage, while the LaPorte County courthouse saw damage of $70,000 (inflation adjusted). Two people were injured in Indiana in the storms with winds of +100 mph. The worst-hit counties were reportedly La Porte, Porter, Starke, Marshall, Huntington, Wabash, Whitley, Randolph & Wayne counties. A gust of 72 mph was measured on the north side of Terre Haute (seems to be incorrectly denoted as occurring evening of July 3 in NCDC records as storms were out of the region at that time per surface maps & observation data at the time).  Widespread wind damage & a few tornadoes also occurred across much of Ohio with winds reportedly 70 & +70 mph at many locations.  Wind damage & some tornadoes continued into West Virginia, Virginia & Pennsylvania.  Final gusts occurred in northeastern North Carolina for the Lower 48.

In our viewing area, this derecho passed on the evening of July 2, hitting Greater Lafayette around 7 p.m. after a high temperature of 102 & a morning low of 76.  This followed a high of 102 on July 1 & 99 on June 30. 0.58" of rainfall was measured from the storms at the Purdue Airport.

On the east side of Lafayette, two mobile homes were demolished & a one wall of a large concrete block building was toppled. Meanwhile, a dry cleaning business was reported damaged on the west side. Damage to trees, powerlines & structures was also reported at Frankfort .  Nearly every county reported some degree of tree & powerline damage with winds of generally 50-70 mph with a few instances suggesting +75 mph gusts.

Interestingly, on the afternoon of July 3 on the tail end of this derecho, new storms fired in southwestern Indiana (minor damage to crops from hail near Washington) & formed a second derecho that swept a large chunk of Kentucky & part of Tennessee to Mississippi with widespread wind damage (& two tornadoes in northern Tennessee).  4 people were killed when a boat capsized on a lake near Nashville, Tennessee as the violent storm passed.  Rather than moving completely southeast, the second derecho made a turn to the right.

January 10, 1975

Multi-Bow Serial Derecho

Max Gust In the WLFI Viewing Area:  M80 mph 3 Miles South of Logansport

Track length:  Approximately 694 miles

Maximum width:  Approximately 350 miles

A fast-moving cool-season derecho (with record warmth ahead of it) raked the area as one of the strongest surface low pressures on record tracked through the Upper Midwest (like what occurred October 2010 with that squall line, which fell just short of derecho status due to break in the widespread damaging winds in the line's path over our area).

This was a big outbreak with the entire state of Illinois reporting damage per U.S. Weather Bureau data from that time.  In a sampling, a Cessna airplane was overturned at the Galesburg Airport, while 1200 students were evacuated at Western Illinois University after the winds caused exterior wall anchor bolts on the 18th floor of a residence hall to become unbolted, resulting in the wall nearing failure.  Hangars & planes were damaged at the Rochelle Airport, while 29 aircraft were damaged by the storm winds at Midway Airport in Chicago.  1/2" glass was shattered on the Sears Tower in Chicago while farm building, home roof damage, window shattering & tree & powerline damage was the norm across all counties.  Two people were injured in a tornado in southern Illinois.  In Indiana, a damaging tornado occurred northwest of Evansville, while funnel clouds were reported in Gibson, Shelby & Wayne counties.  Otherwise, widespread damaging straight-line winds raked the entire state at 50-85 mph (70 mph most common speed) with widespread roof, tree & powerline damage.  Hundreds of windows were blown out across the state.  At least 4 people were injured, all from falling trees or large limbs.  3 occurred from wind, 1 occurred from lightning hitting a tree & a large limb striking a nearby person.

Kentucky was also very hard hit with damage.  Mobile homes were destroyed in Graves County with at least 4 people injured in the state.  Louisville, Kentucky's Bowman Field Airport measured a gust to 78 mph.

+70 mph wind gusts were reported across much of Ohio with the most severe damage, as reported by the U.S. Weather Bureau at the time, in the northwestern & west-central part of the state.

A t'storm gust of 58 mph was measured at the London-Corbin Airport.

Gradient winds of 45-55 mph occurred ahead of & behind the strong cold front across our area & through the Midwest.

Major blizzard struck From Nebraska & Kansas to Minnesota.  Minnesota was hardest hit. 

Similar in some respects to the February 2008 "Super Tuesday Outbreak", the squall line of straight-line wind-dominated storms occurred north of the main tornado outbreak with a mixed mode of supercells, bows & line segments.



1.  June 19-20, 1964

Single Bow Progressive Derecho

Max Gust In the WLFI Viewing Area:  M90 mph Purdue University Airport

Track length:  Approximately 849 miles

Maximum width:  Approximately 225 miles

This derecho was followed by two other rounds of storms on its tail-end.  This resulted in extensive flooding in Illinois with reports of +5" of rainfall.

The derecho origins can be traced back to eastern Nebraska.  It produced damaging hail & wind there, followed by multiple tornadoes in southern Iowa. Large hail & wind in southeastern Iowa to northwestern Illinois (hail up to 4" in diameter reported) & tracked eastward.  It was reported that 50 of the 102 counties in Illinois suffered crop damage from the storm.  Heavy damage was concentrated in Whiteside, Lee, Dekalb & Kane counties.  Another area of intense damage concentration was Pike, Sangamon, Piatt & Vermilion (Danville, Illinois) counties.  

Lake, Porter & LaPorte counties were hit hard with power poles, tree & television antennas reportedly "leveled", while a plane was damaged at the Gary Airport.  One death & one injury was reported.  A wind gust of 86 mph was measured at Ogden Dunes.

Farther southward in our area, the core of very high winds extended from Vermilion County Illinois through Warren & Tippecanoe Counties.  A 90 mph wind gust was measured at the Purdue Airport with a strip of wind damage across Warren & Tippecanoe counties to crops, trees & farm buildings.  Trees & powerlines were also blown down at Wheatfield, Chalmers & Bunker Hill.

August 26, 1965

Nocturnal Multi-Bow Hybrid Progressive Derecho

Max Gust In the WLFI Viewing Area: M88 mph Wheatfield

Track length:  Approximately 844 miles

Maximum width:  Approximately 165 miles

Derecho began as supercells with tornadoes & large hail in Iowa, then congealing into an apparent derecho.

Barns were unroofed or destroyed near Morocco, Wheatfield & Rochester with crops damage & many trees & powerlines blown down.

The Tippecanoe County Fairgrounds suffered damage as the ends of the judging pavilion were blown out & two hay barns were unroofed. Tree damage was extensive in the area.

Stands at the State Fair in Indianapolis were damaged by damaging winds. A nearby building was struck by lightning & badly damaged by fire. Several tents & a ferris wheel were blown down at the Hancock County Fair. A large building was heavily damaged & other nearby damaged at Lebanon by extreme winds & a brief, but intense F2 tornado hit on the northeast side of Lebanon.  It only tracked 0.8 mile & was only 300' wide, but damaged buildings with winds up to 125 mph.  Corn & soybean field were flattened in multiple areas of central & northern Indiana. 1.25" hail accompanied the intense wind in Steuben County, Indiana, resulting in complete destruction of the corn crop for thousands of acres.  Two churches & three homes were damaged by a brief tornado, embedded in the damaging wind, touched down with this storm.  Wind damage extended in Indiana to the Ohio River (Clark County) where even a funnel cloud was reported.  A gust of 67 mph was measured at Indianapolis & 64 mph at Fort Wayne.  A gust of 69 mph was measured at Portage.

In Illinois, the heaviest damage & most of the injuries were south of a Rock Island & then eastward through Peru to Joliet line. Heavy damage & +90 mph winds occurred. One tornado, wrapped up in the wind & rain, occurred in southern Cook County near Chicago Heights, injuring two people, while an embedded tornado with the same strength as the straight-line wind of 70-73 mph occurred in Iroquois County, Illinois (northwest of Cissna Park) with a brief 0.4-mile path (171' width) in a crop field.  A measured gust of 90 mph was reported at Joliet, while 83 mph gust was measured in the Chicago area.  Gust of 69 & 70 mph were measured at Decatur & Champaign.

A gust of 70 mph was measured at St. Louis & Dayton, Ohio 58 mph.

Tornadoes, wind & some large hail were reported all the way to West Virginia & the Washington D.C. area.



June 26, 1954

Single Bow Progressive Derecho

Max Gust In the WLFI Viewing Area:  E70 mph 5 Miles Northeast of Francesville (Pulaski County), Denver (Miami County)

Track length:  Approximately 1100 miles

Maximum width:  Approximately 233 miles

This is a map of the pressure jump line from the U.S. Weather Bureau at the time, which shows the approximate position of the derecho along it's path.  This was very significant & likely tied to the gravity wave associated with the derecho.

This shows a general track of the derecho.  However, it extend be a bit more to the south.  On the tail end of it there were multiple F0-F2 tornadoes confirmed from south of Indianapolis & through southern Ohio.  

This derecho began near Rochester, Minnesota & that storm tracked through La Crosse to Madison, Wisconsin with large hail of up to 2.00" in diameter.  Evolving into the wind-dominated derecho, it raced southeastward, reportedly at 55 to up to 65 mph, moving 1100 miles in 17 hours.

The storm roared through southeastern Wisconsin & northern Illinois with a gust of 82 mph at Wheeling Illinois, & trees & powerlines were knocked around Chicago.  A gust of 75 mph occurred at Michigan City with damaging winds spreading southeastward with a swath of 50-70 mph winds in the northeastern & eastern to far southeastern counties of the viewing area. 

In Indiana, a brief, but substantial F2 tornado struck northwest of Martinsville, Indiana with multiple farms seeing heavy structural damage in Putnam County with large trees down & crops flattened by winds of +100 mph.  Fort Wayne gusted to 60 mph.

It was reported that Ohio & the Appalachians to crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains were hit hard.  Columbus, Ohio measured a wind gust of 52 mph, while gust of 75 mph occurred near Marietta, Ohio.

A brief wind & rain-wrapped F0 tornado occurred on the northside of Columbus, Ohio, while an F1 briefly touched down east of Zanesville, Ohio, while a brief F2 struck southeast of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. 

"Heavy damage" to trees, powerlines & structures was reported from Cumberland & Vienna, Maryland & across all of Fairfax, County.  Rockville, Bethesday, Floris, Chevy Chase, Glen Echo & Silver Spring all reported extensive damage & large power outages.  Several injuries were reported.  Hangars were destroyed & 12 light planes were damaged at Hyde Field Airport, Clinton, Maryland.  1 person was killed at Rock Point, Maryland.  71 large trees were blown in Falls Church, Maryland alone, while multiple roofs were damage & one completely removed from a home in D.C.  Baltimore reported hail with the wind.

For people were killed in the Washington D.C. area with "all areas of the city & suburban areas" seeing damage & mass power outages.  Dulles Airport measured a wind gust of 66 mph as the derecho passed.  It hit that area between 5-6:10 p.m. where "a great black cloud rolled across the sky.....much of the sky took on a green glow"........then "as the rain drifted away, a splended sunset came in its wake.  The rose of the sky deepened to magenta, which in turn gave way to the blue of night".

A seiche was reported on southern Lake Michigan as the derecho raced through. 13 were drowned by this rogue wave. A similar wave reportedly occurred in 1938. This was the seventh seiche since 1900 reported on southern Lake Michigan.

Another damaging derecho July 6, 1954, but that stayed north of our area.  However, it led to another seiche on the southern end of the lake.

These occurred on the periphery of a hot, upper ridge that dominated during the historically hot, dry, droughty summer of 1954 with temperatures reaching 117 in southwestern Illinois (hottest still since the 1930s)



July 21, 1943

Single-Bow Progressive Derecho

Max Gust In the WLFI Viewing Area:  E60 mph Denver

Track length: Approximately 361 miles

Maximum width: Approximately 110 miles

This is similar in respects to the the July 4-5, 1921 & June 4-5, 1933 derechos.  However, it did not make the right turn as much as the 1921 event as it progressed. 

Severe storms occurred the day before this derecho across northwestern & north-central Iowa with 2 persons injured.  Wind & hail caused severe crop damage & numerous trees & powerlines were down over a large area. 

Even at 2:30 a.m., a small cluster of storms was present near Minneapolis with gust front from Iowa storms in southeastern Nebraska to northwestern Missouri.

The first reports of storms on July 21 was hail in central Wisconsin.  By the time the storm reached southwest Michigan to St. Joseph & Elkhart counties in Indiana, it was producing hail & intense damaging winds.

This evolving storm complex into a derecho brought widespread wind damage across much of northeastern Indiana, including our northeastern counties of the viewing area.  Elkhart completely lost power with extensive tree & powerline damage & two 80' solid brick smoke stacks were toppled in the storm winds.  Barns & corn were completely leveled with thousands of trees uprooted or snapped from South Bend to Rochester to Peru to Marion to Portland, Indiana & then Fort Wayne to La Grange & Goshen & then also northwestern & western Ohio.  Embedded storm in the derecho produced a swath of 1-2" diameter hail from Goshen to near Fort Wayne with the northern Allen County, Indiana particularly hard hit.  Corn that wasn't flattened by the wind was stripped from full size to 12" stubs, reportedly.  A barn in southern Allen County was blown down & hit & wrapped around a farmhouse.

6 people drowned on Lake Wawasee in Kosciusko County when their boat overturned as the storm hit, but 8 others survived, swimming to shore in the difficult conditions as 20 rescue boats came for the survivors.  Much property was also destroyed around the lake.

Damage in Allen County, Indiana alone amounted to $16 million (inflation adjusted).

In our area, it was more damaging wind (Fulton, Cass, Miami, Howard counties with gusts to 60 mph) than rain with only 0.14" measured at Logansport, 0.11" at Denver & a trace at Rochester.  Wabash measured 0.13", while Marion saw 0.77".  0.22" was measured with wind damage in Jay County.  Fort Wayne saw 1.34" rainfall, however.  In our northeast, this reminded me of the July 2004 derecho in the Evansville, Jasper & Owensboro areas where there was little rain, but widespread damaging winds on the tail end of the derecho that knocked down numerous trees & powerlines.

The 1943 derecho was moving up to 60 mph  & after hitting northeastern Indiana & part of the viewing area 6-8 pm.  It had reached West Virginia after midnight.

On July 22, considerable hail was reported on the east side of Washington D.C. & a barn was destroyed by lightning-induced fire at Elkton, Maryland.

July 2004 derecho with damaging winds & little rain on far western side of storm complex:



1. June 4-5, 1933

Single Bow Progressive Derecho

Max Gust In the WLFI Viewing Area: E85 mph Between Logansport & Kokomo

Track length: Approximately 1440 miles

Maximum width: Approximately 250 miles

An incredibly, early, intense heat wave preceded the double derecho event (June 4-7) over the Great Lakes, Midwest & Northeast with additional pulses of intense heat following. One deadly derecho occurred South Dakota to Kentucky June 4-5, while a second deadly derecho on June 6-7 tracked South Dakota to Michigan to Ontario then New York to Massachusetts.

The 90s began the month, but from June 6-12, 100 or greater occurred in the viewing area, a substantial feat in mid-summer, let alone early June. Rensselaer hit 105 on June 7, 10 & 11, while Logansport hit 105 on the 7th & Delphi 103. West Lafayette had 100 or greater on 3 days, with 101 on June 7th.

Our derecho began with a tornado that killed 1 & injured others at Wilmot, North Dakota at midnight on June 4. Large hail & wind damage followed north of St. Cloud, Minnesota, followed by widespread wind damage in Wisconsin (some of the worst was around Chippewa Falls with winds estimated at 70-90 mph) & heavy hail & wind damage at Manitowac. Dozens of people & 1 was killed in Chicago (piece of a factory roof blew off & hit a 19-year old) with gust of 70 mph measured.  Extensive damage was done at the 1933 World's Fair Ground with the Century Progress Exposition. Thousands were sent scurrying while 185 people were still on the 625' sky ride.  The intense wind slammed into the ride with the shelf cloud & first gust of winds reportedly seen as a thick wall of dust took over the grounds. A guard & aviator explained that it swayed violently & was built to sustain a 120 mph wind, but moved back & forth 3' from the base. Numerous windows were blown out, injuring some & a total of 15 people had to be taken to the hospital. Around $1 million (inflation adjusted) in damage was done to buildings, tents & rides on the grounds. Winds may have reached as high as 90 mph.

At least 10 people were rescued from Lake Michigan via the Coast Guard as seiche ripped across the lake.

As it moved into Indiana, entire fields of crops were reportedly leveled near Goshen by hail & wind & tomato fields were devastated in Madison & Tipton counties.

In our viewing area, farm buildings, trees & signs were toppled from Wheatfield & Rensselaer to Dayton to Logansport & Kokomo.  Swaths of corn were bent or flattened, especially around Logansport to Kokomo. Indianapolis reported wind & hail with multiple trees down blocking streets. Some fell on houses. The northeast side & south sides of the city were hardest hit, reportedly. Greenhouses, barns were destroyed near Greenwood & some homes were unroofed. A very much-needed 1.26" fell at Kokomo & 1.18" at Logansport.

Other damage (some of it likely to the east of the derecho) included a 300-year old tree being toppled at Columbia, Pennsyvania & extensive damage in Loudon County, Virgina & across Middleburg & Leesburg. These entire cities were in the dark up to midnight on June 6 after getting hit.

Interestingly, a second derecho hit areas north & northeast of our area on June 6-7 from Minnesota to Ontario to the Northeast.

Multiple tornadoes occurred in southwestern Minnesota with 20 injured & multiple deaths around Worthington. Derecho seem to quickly evolve into a wind-dominated system with widespread, significant wind damage (indications of 80-110 mph winds) over 11 cities in a streak across southern Minnesota. A school building collapsed near Winona, Minnesota, trapping 45 children & another school was damaged, injuring 20 children. Derecho roared eastward through Wisconsin, Michigan to Ontario with heavy damage at London, Ontario. Windows were blown out (5 injured) at the University of Guelph, while Toronto was hit very hard. Many were injured in the city & one was killed. Widespread, significant wind damage followed across western New York with tens of thousands of trees downed & large power outages.

2.  August 9, 1934

Nocturnal Progressive Derecho

Max Gust In the WLFI Viewing Area:  E85 mph Lafayette area

Track length:  Approximately 691 miles

Maximum width:  Approximately 265 miles

A derecho, with widespread damaging winds, blasted Lafayette during the very early morning hours. Knocking down numerous trees & powerlines, several buildings & homes also received damage with winds estimated at 80-85 mph.  Some people were injured by blowing debri & falling trees & limbs. With origins in northern Illinois & Michigan & a lifespan all the way to Ohio & Virginia, the derecho occurred on the edge of one of the historic 1934 heat waves. It did break the heat somewhat & also brought a swath of badly-needed 0.75-1.25" rainfall.

Other damage was reported from Fowler & Boswell to Oxford & Shadeland with minor structural, crop & tree damage.  Tents for the Putnam County 4-H Fair were blown down & damage occurred to the colliseum at the fairgrounds.  Indianapolis reported that it was "one of the most spectacular electrical storms of the year" after the line caused tree damage at Logansport & Kokomo.  Damage was reported widespread "across northern Indiana" & the "entire state of Ohio", though I only plotted reports with exact locations of specific damage.  50% of the apple crop was lost by high winds & hail in one county in the fruit belt of western Michigan.  A mattress factory was leveled at Pittsburgh.

As seen with other derechos, the tail end saw training storms as the bow surged forward.  Significant flash flooding occurred in a narrow band over eastern Kentucky northeast & west of Lexington with many bridges washed out.  4.25" of rainfall fell in torrential storms at Vincennes, Indiana, breaking the extreme drought after temperatures as high as 110.  Griffy Lake (Bloomington, Indiana's principal water supply at the time) rose 28" after the heavy storm, it being extremely low in the drought.  Wind damage was also reported in Bloomington's Monroe County. 

This, after a derecho tracked from Wisconsin to Michigan to Ontario August 3.  Damage was immense in Michigan from +100 mph gusts.  Damage was upwards of $30 million in Michigan alone (inflation-adjusted).  Another derecho would follow around the periphery of the extreme heat & drought on August 18.  This one raked South Dakota to Minnesota to Wisconsin.  The worst damage occurred across central Minnesota to west-central Wisconsin.  3 people were killed by severe storms in Chicago as storms tracked from southern Wisconsin through northern, central & eastern Illinois, making a right turn & dropping southward, missing our area.



1.  July 5, 1921

Nocturnal Progressive Derecho

Max Gust In the WLFI Viewing Area:  E110 mph Near Lake Cicott (Cass County)

Track length:  Approximately 575 miles

Maximum width:  Approximately 120 miles

Early morning derecho blasted through northeast half of the viewing area with widespread straight-line wind damage. Winds likely gusted 60-110 mph.  This occurred after highs of 98-104° on July 4.

In the WLFI viewing area wind damage was reported in Jasper, White, Fulton, Cass, Clinton, Miami, Carroll & Howard counties.

The worst damage reported in our area was centered around Lake Cicott & southeastward in Cass County in a strip of intense wind damage to structures, forests, fence & crops. Windows were blown out of homes in & around Walton.  Kokomo was also hit particularly hard with extensive wind damage. One person was killed at Wolcott in the storm.

Based on the damage reports, preliminary analysis suggests a macroburst with winds up to 110 mph in Cass County around Lake Cicott to the southern part of the county. Length was around 20 miles with maximum width around 5 miles. Damage suggest gust to 85 mph in Kokomo from microburst.  Elsewhere in the track, limited reports suggest winds of 55-70 mph.

It began as damaging wind reported near Green Bay, Wisconsin, hitting Milwaukee, Chicago & then continued south of our area with wind damage reports as far south as Tennessee.

2. July 10, 1922

Single-Bow Progressive Derecho

Max Gust In the WLFI Viewing Area:  E80 mph Kentland & Kempton

Track length: Approximately 1087 Miles

Maximum width: Approximately 110 Miles

Wind damage with this derecho occurred from southeastern South Dakota, through Illinois, northern half of Indiana to Ohio.

It began in South Dakota, with 15 people injured at Lake Andes, South Dakota alone as a tornado reduced cottages to "kindling wood & splinters".  Two other tornadoes occurred seemingly embedded in the evolving damaging winds.  A 12-mile long & 1-mile wide extreme winds in southeastern Nebraska near York with nearly 2" of rain falling south of there at Beatrice, Nebraska.

Farm buildings & the corn crop was leveled near Cedar Rapids & Davenport, Iowa & a car was overturned in the high winds of the storm near Vinton, Iowa.  Camp Grant (near Rockford) saw tents & large trees downed in the storm with guardsman stationed there.  Just west of our viewing area, at Watseka, Illinois, the roof of the fairgrounds grandstands was blown off. Trees uprooted, windows blown out & structures damaged all around & in Watseka.

A wind gust of 73 mph was measured at Toledo, Ohio.  Storm Warnings issued on Lake Michigan & Huron for a seiche-type event with very rough waters & high wave(s) on southern Lake Michigan, but the "43-day drought" reportedly ended in Chicago.  The damage was bad, but the relief from the heat & welcome rainfall was reportedly greatly appreciated.

The human toll was immeasurable with 3 deaths with the storms in Nebraska to Iowa while several lives were reportedly lost in southern Wisconsin.  3 people were killed in Ohio. 

The total damage was in the tens of millions of dollars (inflation adjusted).

In our viewing area, a wind gust of 60 mph was measured at Royal Center.  Fort Wayne Weather Bureau site measured 55 mph gust as the storms passed through.  A child was killed at Kendallville when a barn roof was blown off & buried her & many other close calls were reported, but thankfully the injury & death count was kept low.  Crop damage heavy, homes & buildings unroofed & many electric & telephone poles were snapped & downed over many counties.  One man was critically injured at Muncie. Homes were unroofed in Warsaw with many trees & powerlines downed, while any trees & powerlines were downed in Lafayette to Kokomo.  Barns were destroyed in Clinton County, especially near Kempton.

Heavy crop & property damage was also reported from Watseka to Kentland & south of Remington.

7.06" rain fell in 7 hours southeast of Wichita, at Winfield, Kansas.  5" fell in two hours at Newton, Kansas.  However, this seemed not be tied to the derecho & occurred well south & southwest of its track.

3. August 18-19, 1925 

Single Bow Progressive Derecho

Max Gust In the WLFI Viewing Area:  E95 mph 8 Miles South of Covington

Track length: Approximately 993 Miles

Maximum width: Approximately 390 Miles

Bearing resemblance to the July 8, 2001 (& even July 2004) derecho track, this one began in south-central Iowa & followed the periphery of a major heat wave.  Temperatures in its path & just south of the path reached 100-106 from northern & eastern Missouri to Illinois, Indiana & Kentucky.  With an official high of 105, it was reported that an egg was fried on a street car rail in Topeka, Kansas.

This event produced massive damage over central & eastern Iowa to northwestern Illinois (a.m.) then central & eastern Illinois to southern Illinois, western Indiana (by 3:30 p.m.) to central & southern Indiana (4:30 p.m.), then Kentucky followed byTennessee (by evening) & Alabama, Georgia & North Carolina that night.  Headllines in the press read, "Crops Damaged or Destroyed in Five States".

Even toward the end of the derecho, heavy damage was reported at Abingdon, Virginia (near were North Carolina, Tennessee & Virginia meet).  A hotel lost its roof, homes were partially unroofed & plate glass windows were shattered.  Asheville, North Carolina reported numerous trees downed.  Gadsden, Alabama reported a "windstorm" with numerous trees & powerlines downed, while Linden (southern Alabama) & Moulton (northern Alabama) both reported wind damage in local press.  At Girard, Alabama "vast damage" was reported from the storm winds.

Wind damage was widespread & impressive from southeastern Iowa with a 75-mile path of especially bad crop destruction ("total destruction of corn crop in many sections") suggesting+100 mph gusts.  Cedar Rapids was reportedly hit very hard & the windows were blown out of a passenger train at Rock Island, Illinois.  The damage continued southeastward through Central Illinois with Rantoul hit with "hard blow".  It was reported that the 150 square miles surrounding Macomb were badly hit with wind damage & a massive 200-square mile area surrounding McDonough County, Illinois saw damage typical of +100 mph gusts.  In a sampling of some other reports, "Lambert Flying Field" (modern-day St. Louis-Lambert International Airport) reported hangars damaged & dozens of planes rolled, thrown about, toppled & destroyed, while east-southeast of there in southern Illinois, Centralia saw heavy crop & tree damage & Murphysboro, Illinois (hit by the EF5 tornado 5 months earlier) saw the new school have its roof blown off & one wall collapse.  A large tent was downed at Muscatine, Iowa. 

Roofs were blown off of business & homes with heavy tree & powerline damage at Nashville, Tennessee.  In the press, a 3-mile long stretch of "devastating" wind damage occurred near Clarksville, Tennessee, which followed mention of a severe thunderstorm at Madisonville, Kentucky just earlier which "broke the heatwave".  Thousands of trees were snapped or uprooted in a sampling of reports from Park City, Bowling Green & Glasgow, Kentucky.  Even Petersburg, Kentucky, just southwest of Cincinnati, Ohio, was hard hit.  The official wind gust measured at Louisville was 66 mph.

In our area, heavy damage occurred across Warren, Fountain & Montgomery counties.  8 miles south of Covington & the area between Crawfordsville & Darlington was hit the hardest.  Farm houses completely lost their roofs in Vermilion County, Illinois (Westville & Catlin hard-hit) & dozens of barns were leveled.  Such damage continued into southern Fountain County & then east-central Montgomery County.  One farm house completely lost its roof, while three other homes were crushed by falling trees south of Covington.  Windmills were toppled & thousands of trees were snapped or uprooted.  Tens of thousands of acres of corn was damaged or leveled.  Other extensive damage occurred over northeastern Hamilton County, Indiana with thousands of acres of crops damaged & "several hundred acres of corn destroyed". Damage was reported all over central & southern Indiana with Vincennes seeing injuries, one person was killed by fallen powerlines at Merom (between Terre Haute & Vincennes).  Western Jackson County saw widespread damage, as did Muncie, Knightstown, Greenfield, Columbus, Princeton, Boonville with reports of trees & powerlines downed, crops damaged or destroyed & structural damage consistent with 60-90 mph winds.

Multiple injuries were reported all along the derecho route.

4. July 3-4, 1928

Single-Bow Progressive Derecho

Max Gust In the WLFI Viewing Area:  E90 mph Darlington

Track length: Approximately 1556 Miles

Maximum width: Approximately 173 Miles

Damage Nebraska to Iowa to Illinois to Indiana to Ohio with this derecho, which followed a derecho on July 2-3 from the Dakotas to Minnesota, Wisconsin & Michigan with at least 5 deaths +$20 million in damage (inflation-adjusted).  It hit Nebraska & Iowa overnight to the morning on the 3-4th & then hit Indiana to Ohio. on the afternoon to evening of the 4th.

Multiple newspaper articles reported that "the entire State of Iowa" received wind damage, but I only plotted actual report locations. 

The first reports of this derecho was damaging hail to the what crop at at Minatare, Nebraska.  This rapidly intensified to a swath of damaging wind across Nebraska, including a 100-mile long swath of significant wind damage with crops leveled & multiple farm houses unroofed or otherwise damaged.  The U.S. Weather Bureau reported at 90% of the crops were destroyed around Stattom, Nebraska.  Barns were also leveled.  A gust of 58 mph was measured at Lincoln & an entire business block, residence & two garages were unroofed nearby at College View.  This was followed by heavy damage across Iowa with crops reportedly leveled, trees snapped or uprooted & the area cut off from communication & power.  Amidst the wind, two tornadoes were reported by U.S. Weather Bureau, those being in Crawford & Shelby counties.  "Considerable damage" was reported at Moline, Illinois, while the Lincoln State School was damaged in Logan County.  "Buildings were damaged" in Starke & Peoria counties.  "A terrific storm" was reported with many trees & powerlines downed at Paris, Illinois with 1 person killed in eastern Illinois.  Damage was also reported in the press at Danville to Decatur to Mattoon, Streator, McHenry, Paxton, Belvidere & Freeport, to name a few .  An especially intense zone of structural, crop, tree & powerline/pole damage was reported by the U.S. Weather Bureau at the time in a 30-mile long corridor from Elvaston to Bently, Plymouth & Colmer, Illinois (west-central Illinois).

In Indiana, widespread wind damage was reported across northern, central & eastern areas of the state.  Structures were unroofed, trees downed & tens of thousands of corn flattened.  13 people were killed in drownings & 5 in auto accidents in the storm while out celebrating the holiday, while others were reportedly overcome by the "terrific heat wave" prior to & following the storm.  At Argos, it was the worst storm every known" in the press.  Indianapolis saw wind damage across the city with multiple large trees on homes, while wind damage was reported westward in Putnam & Parke counties.  Other cities mentioned in press with much wind damage included Rushville, Tipton, Franklin, Elwood, Alexandria, Richmond, Greenfield, Columbus, Munster, South Bend, Huntington, Fairmount, Seymour & Garrett.

In our viewing area, just like in the 1925 derecho, barns were leveled near Darlington & that intense area of wind continued into Boone & Hamilton counties.  The area around Westfield was hit with heavy wind damage with homes & businesses unroofed.  Trees & powerlines were downed & minor roof damage occurred in Lafayette, as well as Covington, Attica, Fowler & Rensselaer to Logansport.

Wind damage continued into Ohio with reports from Dayton, Mansfield, Fremont, Zanesville, Hamilton, Greenville & Coshocton, in a sampling.  Trees were uprooted & powerlines downed even in Washington County, Maryland.

5.  June 29-30, 1929

Single Bow Progressive Derecho

Max Gust In the WLFI Viewing Area:  E110 mph 1 Mile East of Linden

Track length: Approximately 665 miles

Maximum width: Approximately 100 miles

Double derechos near the first tracking event have occurred in the past multiple times.  We have come close to double events here, like in 2013, 2000, but they pass just south & southeast of our area.  I have not found any double derecho hits in the area due to the first usually convectively overturning the atmosphere or outflow boundaries racing out of derechos that track in our north, shunting any new event south of our area.

In several years, double derechos have occurred north & west of our area.  1933 & 1934 come to mind, but again, the second always tracks south of the first.

The first derecho produced a 3-, then 17-mile long path of heavy hail & wind damage in central Nebraska.  A 75-mile path of damage across southern Wisconsin occurred & brought significant damage to 14 counties in east-central Iowa with corn loss in some counties at 90%. Damage also occurred northwestern Illinois to northern Indiana, southern Michigan. 6-mile wide, 10 mile long path of intense damage occurred across Jo Daviess County, in far northwestern Illinois. The Untine Bowler plane came into Chicago from Buffalo as storm hit on its way to fly across the "top of the world to Berlin this week" to break a new record. The plane barely made it in to land as the first winds of the derecho roared in, it being called "the worst storm in several years" at Chicago.  Damage continued to as far east as Pennsylvania.  One tornado occurred in Branch County, Michigan, embedded in the damaging straight-line winds.  Many buildings, farm houses & barns were "wrecked" across Hillsdale, Lenawee & Branch counties in southern Michigan.

Widespread wind damage to trees, crops, powerlines & some buildings occurred over northern Indiana, just north of the viewing area.  Noble, Stueban, LaGrange counties were reportedly hit the hardest with "buildings razed" in LaGrange & streets being impassable by debri from trees to buildings to power lines in Kendallville. 

A wind gust of 49 mph was measured officially at Toledo, Ohio, but damage east of Toledo is indicative of gusts exceeding 65 mph. 

At the end of the first derecho, interestingly, a tornado at 8:15 a.m. on June 28 with U.S. Weather Bureau at the time writing, "every house in village wrecked or damaged; 3 persons injured.  Then trees, powerlines were blown down, houses unroofed & small buildings demolised in Kane County, Pennsylvania by the storm.

The second derecho hit the viewing area & it seemed to hit Indiana the hardest.

In a sampling of reports...........

It began with large, damaging hail in southeastern Iowa, then moved southeastward with increasing wind damage.  Piatt & Champaign counties in Illinois saw "heavy damage" to trees & crops. Storms moved into Vermilion County, Illinois with an 8-mile wide swath of intense wind damage to trees, crops & structures suggesting of winds of +80 mph.  It then blew into Warren, Benton, Tippecanoe, Fountain & Montgomery counties.  The grain elevator at Linden was "completely leveled" & "signs down", "store windows blown out" in Crawfordsville with many large trees heavily damaged or down all along the city streets.  "Crops & communication lines were damaged to a great extent in Lafayette & elsewhere in Tippecanoe County".  Corn was completely flattened & snapped at the base at Templeton, in Benton County, while "heavy damage" was reported from Williamsport, Attica, West Lebanon & Marshfield where "many small buildings, trees, crops & communication lines were damaged".  A car was carried off the road & into a field at Fincastle as the storm rolled in with press reporting "many tales of narrow escapes are being retold today".  Many homes were unroofed in Greencastle & thousands of trees were downed from there to Rockville.  Sheds & barns were flattened & homes completely unroofed at Groveland, between Bainbridge & New Winchester in Putnam County.  Crops were also completely destroyed in the area, suggestive of +100 mph winds.  Just southeast of Greencastle at Mount Meridian, the historic Half-Way House had its roof torn off.

Damage continued east & southeastward with Indianapolis seeing its highest wind gust ever measured at 111 mph.  Roofs were off many homes & Central State Hospital was damaged.  "Trees were blown down & other minor damage inflicted at other state institutions".  A tall brick chimney at Engine House #19 was toppled, injuring 4 (2 critically).  Windows blown out of homes & stores & one front of a store was completely blown away at 1267 Shelby Street with merchandise blow out & all over the street.  In just one small area alone on South Belmont Avenue, 40 large shade trees were downed.  Other cities hit hard by signs of +75 mph winds include Anderson, Shelbyville, Franklin, Hartford City, Redkey, Pennville (where church was demolished) Union City (22 traction line poles blown down in a row).  Fairview saw barns completely leveled, while cottages were demolished "along the river" "north of the city" [of Indianapolis]).  Carmel, Mooresville & Plainfield also saw very heavy damage with highways 31, 52 & 67 all impassable by fallen trees & lines, to name just a sample.  The huge Van Buren Elm, which was damaged by the 1925 & 1928 derechos finally succumbed & fell.  It was the tree along the National Road that Presidential candidate Martin Van Buren rested under as his stage coach wheel was being prepared.  We was campaigning in Indiana at the time.  The church that sat on the propery in 1929, cut famous fallen tree & sold souvenir pieces.  Considerable damage was done at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with roofs removed from the grand stands & otherwise structural, tree & power line/pole damage on the grounds.

This great 1929 derecho was one of, it not, the worst on record for Indiana.  It was reported that it was "a great loss in public utilities" with "hundreds of miles of lines" blown down with "high-tension lines a heavy casualty".

June-July 1929 was active.  Even on July 4, a complex of severe storms with widespread damaging winds raked Iowa to Illinois.  Repeated storms led to flooding from Iowa to Indiana during these months.



November 11, 1911

Nocturnal Multi-Bow Serial Derecho

Max Gust In the WLFI Viewing Area: E100 mph Lafayette

Track length: Approximately 575 miles

Maximum width: Approximately 120 miles

In a High Risk-type outbreak, a significant severe outbreak occurred with a fast-moving, cool-season derecho.  Damage was very widespread over the viewing area, & state for that matter.  Damage shows quite widespread 50-85 mph gusts with some strips of gusts of 85-110 mph.  There was a good deal of structural damage with extensive tree damage in the city of Lafayette & even around Purdue University, including at the site of the weather observation equipment (according to Ferdinand J. Walz of the U.S. Weather Bureau per Dr. Huston at Purdue).  Dr. Huston explained at winds were sustained (not gust) at 55 mph for several minutes during the storm.  The nature of the damage was quite widespread with multiple buildings damaged & chimneys blown down.  Overall, it was the worst storm per damage cost at Lafayette since 1877 & would be the worst until the violent, damaging storm in 1913.  One person was killed from the storm in Lafayette.

This derecho also included several destructive tornadoes in Indiana & a long-track tornado in Tennessee with an embedded supercell or LEWP.

A sampling of measured wind gusts from the line include:

64 mph Hannibal, Missouri...60 mph Memphis, Tennessee...58 mph Cleveland, Ohio...57 mph Toledo, Ohio...56 mph Detroit, Michigan...54 mph Dayton, Ohio & Columbus, Ohio...52 mph Indianapolis...48 mph Nashville, Tennessee...47 mph Evansville

The line actually re-developed on the 12th & produced gusts of 72 mph at New York City, 66 mph at Block Island, Rhode Island &

This occurred with highs in the 70s just prior to the event & lows by November 12 in the single digits.

November 29, 1919

Multi-Bow Serial Derecho

Max Gust In the WLFI Viewing Area:  E75 mph Multiple Locations In the Viewing Area

Track length: Approximately 575 miles

Maximum width: Approximately 120 miles

This derecho occurred with unseasonable warmth surging into the area on the morning of November 29.  Surface map shows 60-degree isotherm approaching at 8 a.m. with widespread wind event with cool-season QLCS racing up through the Ohio Valley.  Like other cool-season Progressive derechos, strong gradient winds of +50 mph occurred behind the storms for many hours afterward.  This was also seen in the October 29, 1996 & November 11, 1911 derechos.  This track was similar to the December 3, 1998 derecho & the system bore overall resemblance to that event.

It was also similar to the November 9, 1913 storm, but that particular system did not exhibit a derecho like this one, likely due to lack of any sort of buoyancy or CAPE with that one in the warm sector rains & sharp cold front.  It still produced a lot of gradient wind, however & dangerous waters on the Great Lakes.

The line was in western Illinois at 8 a.m. & raced through the viewing area 9-10 a.m., reaching a Lansing, Michigan to Nashville, Tennessee line by noon.

Widespread wind damage was reported from Missouri through Illinois, Indiana, northern Kentucky to central & southern Michigan, Ohio & southwestern Ontario.  Thousands of trees & powerlines were downed over a massive area with state-wide damage reported across Indiana.  At least three people were killed in Indiana .  Thousands of windows were blown out & multiple buildings were unroofed, including those in Anderson, Fort Wayne, South Bend, Lafayette, to name a few.  A church steeple was blown down at Indianapolis.  Winds of 50-85 mph likely occurred throughout the state with isolated +80 mph gusts.

Factories were unroofed across Illinois & Ohio with the worst storm ever recorded up to that time at Perrysburg, Ohio.  A wind gust of 78 mph was measured there.  6 peple were killed in Michigan.

Detroit measured a wind gust to 87 mph......Toledo, Ohio 82 mph.....Perrysburg, Ohio 78 mph...Port Huron, Michigan 76 mph...Evansville, Indiana 67 mph....Fort Wayne, Indiana 66 mph.....St. Louis, Missouri 64 mph.....Lexington, Kentucky 62 mph....Indianapolis, Louisville measured gusts of 58 mph, while Cairo, Illinois & Dayton, Ohio gusted to 56 mph.  Nashville, Tennessee measured gust of 55 mph at line raced through, while Saginaw, Michigan gusted to 53 mph & Columbus, Ohio, Chicago, Illinois, 52 & 50 mph respectively.



June 19-20, 1901

Nocturnal Single-Bow Progressive Derecho

Max Gust In the WLFI Viewing Area:  E103 mph Kokomo to Greentown

Track length: Approximately 1402 Miles

Maximum width: Approximately 277 Miles

This was another significant derecho that raked part of the viewing area & all of central to southern Indiana.  It produced a very wide & long swath of significant damage not seen to such a degree in a derecho until the June 1929 event.  Occurring on the periphery of an intense heat wave in the very hot, dry summer of 1901, this was an especially intense "Ring of Fire" derecho that hit us early on the morning of June 20.  However, just like in the 1929 event, highs preceding the derecho in the viewing area on June 19 were not extremely hot, per sey.  However, it was very humid with highs 85-90 (highs preceding the June 1929 derecho were 85-91 in the viewing area, though it was very humid).

It began violently as a supercell in northern Nebraska with a strong tornado tracking from near Naper to around Butte with buildings being leveled.  South of Lynch, 3 farmhouses were completely destroyed.  8 tornado deaths occurred near Naper & at least 1 person was killed at Badger with +10 injured.  9 people were hurt & 1 killed in tornado at Boonville, Missouri.  Hail & wind damage occurred near Exira, Iowa with other wind damage near Marshalltown & Washington.  In another sampling of reports from extensive research, Warren County, Illinois was hit hard & "farms [were] badly wrecked" over McLean County, Illinois.  3 miles south & east of Bloomington saw the worst of the damage with "cyclone-like destruction" over a large area.  Ellsworth, Illinois reported a tornado, while Kenney & Mt. Pulaski saw two large livery barns leveled with 10 minutes of intense wind.  1 person was injured at El Paso, Illinois with heavy damage from the wind to homes, barns, crops, trees & powerlines around Atlanta, Illinois.  "Great damage" was done at Roanoke, Minonk, St. Jose, Fairbury, Flandgen, Arcola, Mattoon, Rantoul, Paxton, Rankin & Hoopeston to name some reports in press.  Damage occurred reportedly across all of Champaign County with a 75' section of building wall & cornice toppled.

Indiana was hit very hard, as was a good chunk of the WLFI viewing area.  Southern Indiana actually reported flash flooding from the training tail end of the derecho. 

1 person was killed at Greentown, 1 at Monticello, 1 at Idaville, while another was injured.  2 people were injured at Kokomo.  3 deaths were blamed on the storm at Indianapolis with "several injured", while 2 people were killed in Vigo County.  5 people were injured in Marion, 1 injured in Portland & another in Noblesville. 

At Roachdale, the News building was entirely demolished with machinery & fixtures damaged or destroyed.  300 windows were blown out at Greentown & all shade trees were were either downed or damaged to some degree in the town.  Especially heavy damage occurred in the Kokomo to Greentown corridor with some debri impaled into homes.  Press reported crops destroyed for "miles around" in Howard County.  "Considerable damage" was down in & around Crawfordsville with numerous trees & fences down.  "Trees by the score" were uprooted at Covington.  Widespread tree & roof damage occurred in Lafayette, which was called the worst storm since 1883 for the city, however the June 30, 1877 storm was more costly to the city.  Several barns were reportedly damaged to destroyed by the weather in Benton, Tippecanoe, Warren, Fountain, White, Clinton & Howard counties.

In a sampling of reports from Indiana, 50 oil derricks were blown down near Hartford City with buildings in the city damaged, while Union City, Pendleton, Marion, Noblesville, Anderson, Muncie, Portland to Bloomington, Bedford, Linton, Loogootee, Scottsburg, Edinburgh all reported extensive tree damage, powerlines down & barn, building & home damage.  In the press, multiple locations commented how it was the worst storm in decades.  At Indianapolis, the north & east sides were reportedly hit the hardest with one 10-room house under construction demolished, 13 large, old growth Beech trees uprooted near Panhandle Railroad Shops & many more downed in Tuxedo Park.  Other large trees were snapped or uprooted on the grounds of the Deaf Institute.  Dozens & dozens of large trees were downed on East Washington Street, while windows were blown out on a store front from an awning being hurled through it by the wind.

Wind damage continued through Ohio with tornado near Delaware with "buildings blown over, lumber driven through houses".  "Carriages were carried 500 feet".  Tornado was spotted as "funnel-shaped cloud" with narrow path of greater damage than the damaging winds around it (9-mile path).  $1.53 million (inflation-adjusted) in damage was done in northeastern Delaware County from the wind alone.  A 35,000-barrel oil tank was struck by lightning & consumed in Ohio, while (along the Ohio River, just upstream from Huntington, West Virginia) 1 person was killed at Wheelerburg, Ohio with "much property destroyed in various sections". 

The last wind damage report from the derecho was Wilmington, Delaware  where "a large number of trees [were] blown down or damaged".

In these derecho events, we can see 1) flooding rainfall on the tail end or 2) a second derecho or at least round of storms form.

In this case, it was extreme flooding.  After the derecho, West Virginia & Virginia saw the tail end of the derecho trained over that area with extremely heavy rainfall occurring. 

Massive flooding developed from training storms with roads & railroads washed out with mudslides around Huntington, West Virginia to Bluefield, Charleston, West Virginia to Roanoke & even areas as far southeast as Richmond, Virginia.  Snowville, Virginia measured 2" of rain in less than 1 hour in the storms & Keystone, West Virginia was wiped out, 300 homes swept away with upward of 300 deaths.  It was reportedly the worst storm in 30 years at Tazewell, Virginia, where 2 children were swept away & drowned.  It was the worst flood disaster since Johnstown in 1889.  Federal troops were dispatched to flood-ravaged areas.  Railroad loss alone in around Keystone was +$15 million (inflation adjusted). 

Other severe storms raked Indiana to West Virginia & Pennsylvana, all the way back to Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois & South Dakota June 22-24, but research determined that these could not be classified as derechos.  However, there was still considerable damage.

On a side note & the testament to the intensity of the storms in the "Ring of Fire" a severe wind & hail storm occurred overnight 5 miles from Clinton, Sampson County, North Carolina on June 23.  Some hail as large as a man's hat at the time fell, leaving large holes in the ground.  "The oldest inhabitant" had reportedly never seen such large hailstones there.  A typical men's style hat from that region in 1901 looked to be around 6.75" in diameter.  This would be record hail size for North Carolina.

June 19, 1908

"Pioneer Severe Warnings" Multi-Bow Hybrid Derecho

Max Gust In the WLFI Viewing Area:  E70 mph Rensselaer

Track length:  Approximately 1098 miles

Maximum width:  Approximately 413 miles

In this particular derecho, it was the first one to have warnings issued for it.  With damaging winds in a very early, pioneer period of public notice of severe storms coming in the Midwest.  The "Chicago Forecast District" office successfully put out "Storm Warnings" via telegraph to warn locations in Illinois & downstream to Indiana & Ohio of impending damaging winds after all of the damage reports in Minnesota, Iowa, southern Wisconsin & far northwestern Illinois received.  This set a precedent for efforts to warn locations affects of known, widespread, significant severe weather moving toward a region.  This was an important advancement, also the analysis of the event with research done by the Weather Bureau stating,  "the wind in most instances was of the thundersquall type or straight-line squall."  This ranks up with the classification & mention of "derecho" in the August 1877 event.

From U.S. Weather Bureau publication showing progression of derecho from 1-7 p.m. across Ohio & times of passage with damaging winds at various locations:

A "hard blow" was reported in Minnesota with heavy damage across southern Minnesota with widespread wind & a few embedded tornadoes.  In a sampling, Some counties in the far southeastern part lost 80% of their crops.  In Redwood County, a swath 12-miles long & 40 miles long saw the worst of the wind with barns leveled & homes damaged in varying degrees (likely winds of +105 mph).

Damaging there to Wisconsin & Iowa continued into Illinois.  Marshall County, Illinois was particularly hard hit with damage.  Reports in the press state the storm "destroyed barns, chicken houses, wind mills, hay barns, trees, etc. " & that "this section experienced one of the worst wind & rain years."

In Michigan, roofs were blown off, trees uprooted & lines & poles downed at Detroit, Port Huron to Charlotte, Lapeer, Marine City, Rochester, etc.  Windows were blown out & roofs removed in downtown Detroit.  

Much of Indiana was raked by damaging winds except the far southwestern & northeastern part.  The heart of the state saw the breath of it.  A "cloudburst" was reported at Brazil with some of the worst damage there in the state.  Every city block saw substantial damage to powerlines, trees & roofs with garages & outbuildings blown from foundations.  18 telephone poles were reportedly snapped between Terre Haute & Brazil on the National Road or US 40 at the time.  .  However, even in Marshall County, significant tree damage occurred, including the city of Plymouth.  A corn crib was blown over on a farm in the northern part of the county, injuring the candidate for County Assessor at the time.  The first thunder was heard at Indianapolis at 12:50 p.m. followed by a "terrific storm" of damaging winds.  At Richmond, an iron smokestack was lifted from the ground & toppled at the Fulle Bros. greenhouse.  At Hammond, it was reportedly the second storm in a month to overturn outbuildings & knock trees down.  It reportedly followed the most "intense", "sweltering" heat of the summer so far.

At Columbus, Ohio, the "wind blew at the rate of 64 miles per hour for 3 minutes at 3:42 p.m."  A gust of 52 mph was measured at Cleveland at 4:15 p.m.  A barn was destroyed, killing 1 person in Tuscawaras County, Ohio, while heavy damage was reported from Toledo & near Findlay Ohio & over Sandusky County.  The worst damage appears to have evolved with two bows, one in the far northern part of the state & the other in the central part of the state with widespread structural damage & tens of thousands of trees down in each county.  In Steubenville, 3 brick buildings in the city were demolished with many others unroofed, while a steamer with 50 passengers on the Ohio River was violently turned & swayed about & blown into the wharf.  Near Wooster, Ohio, a buggy & horse were blown off the road & overturned by the wind as the storm hit, thrown into a ditch & then rolled out of the ditch across a field before being stopped by a fence "bottomside up".  At Canal Dover, 1 person was killed & three injured when a family sought shelter in a barn as the storm hit & were buried in the ruins as it was leveled.  Three people were injured at Cincinnati.  The damage continued through western Pennsylvania, West Virginia & Virginia to the D.C. area.  


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