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Monday and Tuesday Busiest Severe Weather Days This Year

lsrsThe peak of severe weather season is usually April through June, but a possible derecho caused – by a wide margin – the two busiest severe weather days of the year on Monday and Tuesday.

In official figures from the Storm Prediction Center (SPC), 709 total severe weather reports were issued on Tuesday, the most of any single day so far in 2015. Coupled with 585 reports on Monday, well over a thousand total storm reports were filed as multiple lines of powerful thunderstorms swept through the Ohio River Valley and eventually crossed the Appalachians into the Carolinas before moving offshore late Tuesday.

While only 11 tornado reports were issued combined between Monday and Tuesday, several hurricane-force wind gusts were reported across the Midwest as a possible derecho – a long-lived and expansive line of particularly strong and notoriously windy severe thunderstorms – raced across the Midwest and eventually moved into the Southeast. The overwhelming majority of the severe weather reports – about 85.7 percent – came as a result of straight-line (regular) wind damage, although large hail up to teacup size was interspersed amongst the storms.

As we look back at this event, a discussion in the newsroom was brought up as to if this MCS classifies as a derecho or not. Our team of experienced meteorologists sat down to discuss the facts. This event was a long range event that indeed was 100 miles across, lasted for over 240 miles (by mid-Monday it had already traveled over 700 miles), with widespread wind speeds over 58 mph with numerous reports from Minnesota to Tennessee that exceeded 80 mph. So, as a team, we concluded the event was indeed a derecho.

Flash flooding was also a serious issue, as several waves of heavy rainfall fell on already saturated grounds, particularly in the Ohio River Valley. At least three people have died in flash floods in Kentucky (two) and Indiana (one) following the extreme rainfall, which amounted to five inches over just a few short hours in some spots. In Indianapolis, Indiana, 8.18″ of rain has fallen in July’s opening fortnight, four times the average of slightly over two inches for that time span.

The good news is that the next few days appear to be calmer severe weather-wise. The majority of storms will be garden-variety rather than a widespread severe weather outbreak, however, even non-severe storms create deadly lightning. On Sunday, the 18th U.S. lightning fatality was confirmed in Spearfish, South Dakota, where a man was struck playing disc golf.

Stay with WeatherNation for the latest severe weather news all year round.

Meteorologists Tracey Anthony and Chris Bianchi

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