No, this was a Derecho.
A Derecho is a fast moving line of thunderstorms and strong winds. This Derecho started Friday afternoon June 29th in Indiana–then moved an average of 75 miles per hour, reaching the Atlantic Ocean during the first few minutes of Saturday June 30, 2012. There were more than 600 reports of high winds during this event. Many of the gusts were 80-90mph. That’s hurricane force we’re talking about.
The end result this time is several million people with no power. Approximately two million people in the Washington D.C. area, alone.
The Storm That Took Down Netflix, Pinterest And Instagram
The Meteorologist who created this radar image must’ve stayed up late. But he could not have used Instagram to share it since the service was down. And anyone who was hoping to look up a recipe (or anything else) on Pinterest was out of luck Friday night for at least a couple of hours. And then there were the movies and shows that stopped streaming on Netflix.
KOIN Local 6 Meteorologist Matt Brode told me he was trying to stream a documentary when Netflix went down. So how is it three big players in the modern world suddenly went down at the same time? Well, it was news to me, but they all apparently run on the Amazon (yes, that Amazon) Cloud service. Amazon’s Cloud Center is located right in the path of this storm. So when it went down, so did Pinterest, Netflix and Instagram. Incredible. Here’s a nice play-by-play of the event. A line of angry clouds brought down THE cloud. Or at least one of them. I bet there will be some ‘backups to the backups’ put in place after this one!
Heatwave Powered The Derecho, Death Toll Could Climb
These Derechos are known for forming on sort of the north side of a heatwave. And with heat across the United States smashing in the neighborhood of 2,000 records in a single week maybe this was inevitable. But a Derecho this significant is very rare.
Here’s a sampling of the highs people around the country faced on Friday June 29, 2012. Parts of Kansas actually hit 115 degrees. And Nashville, TN, set a new all time high: 109 degrees. And that was just Friday. Now, with millions with no power and more triple digit heat ahead this story may go from bad to worse in a hurry. This is the kind of heatwave that can kill. Air conditioning helps us limit that, for sure. But without power, some could be waiting days for that. If not longer.