A Climatology of Derecho-Producing Mesoscale Convective Systems in the Central and Eastern United States, 1986–95. Part I: Temporal and Spatial Distribution

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  • 1 Climatology Research Laboratory, Department of Geography, The University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia
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In 1888, Iowa weather researcher Gustavus Hinrichs gave widespread convectively induced windstorms the name “derecho”. Refinements to this definition have evolved after numerous investigations of these systems; however, to date, a derecho climatology has not been conducted.

This investigation examines spatial and temporal aspects of derechos and their associated mesoscale convective systems that occurred from 1986 to 1995. The spatial distribution of derechos revealed four activity corridors during the summer, five during the spring, and two during the cool season. Evidence suggests that the primary warm season derecho corridor is located in the southern Great Plains. During the cool season, derecho activity was found to occur in the southeast states and along the Atlantic seaboard. Temporally, derechos are primarily late evening or overnight events during the warm season and are more evenly distributed throughout the day during the cool season.

Corresponding author address: Mace L. Bentley, Climatology Research Laboratory, Department of Geography, The University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602-2502. E-mail: mbentley@cacimbo.ggy.uga.edu

In 1888, Iowa weather researcher Gustavus Hinrichs gave widespread convectively induced windstorms the name “derecho”. Refinements to this definition have evolved after numerous investigations of these systems; however, to date, a derecho climatology has not been conducted.

This investigation examines spatial and temporal aspects of derechos and their associated mesoscale convective systems that occurred from 1986 to 1995. The spatial distribution of derechos revealed four activity corridors during the summer, five during the spring, and two during the cool season. Evidence suggests that the primary warm season derecho corridor is located in the southern Great Plains. During the cool season, derecho activity was found to occur in the southeast states and along the Atlantic seaboard. Temporally, derechos are primarily late evening or overnight events during the warm season and are more evenly distributed throughout the day during the cool season.

Corresponding author address: Mace L. Bentley, Climatology Research Laboratory, Department of Geography, The University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602-2502. E-mail: mbentley@cacimbo.ggy.uga.edu
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