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Rare wintertime storm system brings tornadoes, possible derecho to central US

Derechos are rare outside of the summer months as they feed off warm, moist air.
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Posted at 11:12 AM, Feb 27, 2023

Nine tornadoes and wind gusts reaching 114 mph swept the central U.S. on Sunday, causing extensive damage and thousands of power outages.

According to the National Weather Service, seven of the nine unconfirmed tornadoes were reported in Oklahoma. The other two were reported in Kansas. The National Weather Service will survey the area to confirm the tornadoes.

In addition to the eight tornadoes, there were more than 100 reports of straight-line wind damage from Texas to Illinois. The highest wind gusts were reported in Memphis Hall, Texas, where a weather station measured a 114 mph gust.

Forecasters predicted the region would be impacted by a potential derecho going into Sunday. The National Weather Service defines a derecho as a line of severe storms that is at least 60 miles wide, travels at least 400 miles and packs winds of 58 mph for most of its path.

It’s unclear whether Sunday’s storm will officially be declared a derecho, but even the mere forecast of one in February is rare. Typically a derecho thrives in warm conditions as the majority of these types of storms occur in May, June and July. The storm system is moving northeast. The National Weather Service said severe weather is possible in Ohio, Indiana and Illinois on Monday.