As the millions of people still without power today will attest, that was no ordinary wind storm on Friday.
An event that reportedly happens about once every four years, a fast and furious thunderstorm formed west of Chicago at about 11 a.m. and then raced at speeds upwards of 60 mph in a straight line across Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. and out over the Atlantic Ocean by midnight, according to news reports.
Meteorologists call this kind of straight-lined fast moving thunderstorm a derecho. And this Friday's derecho already has its own wiki page.
Also on Discovery News: Storm Tracker: Killer Storm and Heat, 2M Without Power
Like other thunderstoms, derechos generate power from convective wind gusts formed between pressure systems. But unlike other storms, derechos maintain a forward motion, basically feeding off the interface between the systems in a race that moves the storm at upwards of 50 mph for distances of hundreds of miles.
"Derechos often form along the northern boundary of a hot-air mass, right along or just south of the jet stream, where upper-level winds zip along at high speeds," reported the Seattle Times.
The record-setting temperatures on Friday clashed with the weather systems over Chicago and the storms that emerged grew in power forming a derecho that the upper-level winds continued push forward as the storm chewed its way through the heat wave.