• A line of intense, widespread, and fast-moving windstorms and sometimes thunderstorms that moves across a great distance and is characterized by damaging winds.

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Example Sentences

“My grandfather still tells stories about the derecho that tore up his tree house when he was a kid.”

“If the weather report is calling for a derecho, there’s a potential for intense, fast-moving storms.”

“The thick wall of clouds was too slow-moving to turn into a derecho.”

Word Origin

Spanish, late 19th century

Why this word?

If you’ve ever heard a meteorologist say the phrase “straight-line winds” on a weather report, they might have been talking about the weather system also known as a “derecho.” This Spanish word, meaning “direct, straight,” was borrowed in 1888 by chemist and naturalist Gustavus Detlef Hinrichs to distinguish a certain type of storm from the rotating winds of a tornado. According to the National Weather Service, a weather event may be classified as a derecho if the wind damage extends more than 240 miles and includes wind gusts of at least 58 mph along most of its length.

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