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WNIJ and NIU STEAM are partnering to create “The Sound of Science,” a weekly series explaining important science, technology, engineering and math concepts using sound. The feature will air at 1:04 p.m. Fridays as a lead-in to Science Friday.The Sound of Science is made possible by Ken Spears Construction

The Sound of Science - 'Derechos'

NIU STEAM
NIU STEAM

The Sound of Science - 'Derechos'

Ann - Welcome to The Sound of Science on WNIJ, I’m Ann.

K.C. - I'm K.C. from NIU STEAM.

Ann – K.C., I've heard a lot about derechos in the news lately what's a derecho?

K.C. - Great question Ann, a derecho is a line of thunderstorms that travels 250 miles and produces wind damage all along that path with wind gusts of at least 58 MPH reported along most of its length as well as many 75 MPH or greater gusts along that path. Sometimes there are even tornadoes embedded within the derecho. The word “derecho” is a Spanish word meaning straight ahead the term was coined in 1888 by physics professor Dr. Gustavus Hinrich from the University of Iowa to differentiate wind damage from that of tornado damage after a long line of thunderstorms crossed Iowa on July 31, 1877. Dr. Hinrichs noticed wind damage along a great portion of area following the storm noticing the damage was widespread and that objects were blown down instead of twisted. Both the words “tornado” and “derecho” come from Spanish words. “Tornado” comes from the Spanish word “tornar” which means to turn and “derecho” means “straight ahead” or direct. While the first known derecho was documented in 1877, it wasn't until 1987 when the term derecho began being used by meteorologists with the general public. The term went unused because most of the research being done in the early days of meteorology was learning about tornadoes as knowledge for tornadoes advanced the research moved to discerning the difference between tornadoes and other severe weather wind damage.

Ann - So the reason for the delay in the public knowing about derechos is because tornado studies were more important?

K.C. – Yes, at the time tornadoes were seen as the bigger danger to the public.

Ann - This has been the Sound of Science on WNIJ.

K.C. - Where you learn something new every day.

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