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NOAA Satellite Imagery Shows "Derecho" Wind Storm That Hit Washington Area

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 03-Jul-2012
Updated: 03-Jul-2012 06:35 PM

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has released a video showing the formation and movement of a devastating wind storm that hit several states, including the Washington-Baltimore area, on Friday night Eastern Daylight Time (EDT).

The video shows a storm called a "derecho" form near Chicago and move east, wreaking havoc in its path.   The imagery is from NOAA's GOES East geostationary satellite.  Derechos are long-lived straight-line wind storms accompanied by showers or thunderstorms.  The storm knocked out electrical power, Internet service, and phone service to about 3 million customers from Ohio to New Jersey.  The Washington-Baltimore area reportedly had 1 million people without electricity at the height of the outage.   Although many customers have been restored, hundreds of thousands remain without power today. 

NOAA has been under a lot of criticism for its management of weather satellites and at a hearing two days before this storm, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) warned of a potential gap in coverage from GOES satellites in the 2016-2017 time frame.  GAO said the first of a new series, GOES-R, may not meet its October 2015 launch date.   Concern had been focused on a potential data gap from NOAA's polar orbiting weather satellites in that same time period.


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