by BILL ARCHER
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
About one year ago, few people outside of professionals in the meteorological sciences knew what the term derecho meant. These days, anyone who stood in the path of the straight-line windstorm that swept through the region on June 29, 2012, definitely takes notice when a wind storm is in the forecast.
“The bigger, organized storm won’t arrive in the Bluefield area until about dawn, and that’s very, very late in this storm. It should be weakening by 5 to 6 a.m. (today) when it arrives,” Steve Keighton, a meteorologist with the Blacksburg, Va., office of the National Weather Service said. “The upper atmosphere is warm but it’s not as hot and it’s not as dry as it was on June 29, 2012. This storm should be capped before it arrives here.”
Although the National Weather Service isn’t predicting a storm like the 2012 derecho, forecasters are predicting a 90 percent chance of rain today. “You could experience wind gusts of 30-to-40 miles-per-hour,” Keighton said. “I know that the storm last year on June 29 can make people feel uneasy, but there’s no indication that will be repeated this year. My advice to people who are concerned is to pay attention, listen to the weather radio, keep alert and look at the radar (early this morning) to follow the storm.”
Phil Moye, spokesman for Appalachian Power Company said that the lesson that APCO learned from the derecho in 2012 is to be prepared. “We have actually asked for an additional 500 workers to come to our service area if we get hit with this storm,” Moye said. “The lesson we learned from the straight line storm last year was that by the time we requested help, most of the available personnel were already in the larger cities. We were unable to do it in the derecho because resources were scarce.”
Moye said the experience of responding to the derecho last year has helped the power company prepare to deal with other storms. “It helped us in our response to Super Storm Sandy,” Moye said. “Having some amount of notice helps out.”
Moye said that APCO meteorologists are predicting that the storm will form early this morning. “Looking back at what happened during the derecho helps us plan for large scale storms,” Moye said.
— Contact Bill Archer at email@example.com