Capital Region

Last week’s big storm that knocked out power around the region? A serial derecho, weather service says


ALBANY – Last week’s big storm that knocked out power to much of the region has been officially deemed a derecho, the National Weather Service said Monday night.

A derecho is a wind storm that continues for a long period of time, covers a wide area and is connected to a line of fast-moving storms, according to the National Weather Service.

Wednesday’s storm swept through the Capital Region, knocking out power to nearly 250,000 customers. Some didn’t get power back until Saturday.

The entire Capital Region saw uprooted trees, downed limbs, with many taking out electric service lines. One death was also attributed to the storm locally.

State Mesonet weather stations recorded widespread wind gusts between 50 and 60 mph into the Capital Region. The Albany International Airport recorded a 67 mph gust, the highest recorded gust in October dating back to 1987, the National Weather Service said.

The storm also resulted in microbursts in Root, Montgomery County, as well as Pittstown and Johnsonville in Rensselaer County, where wind speeds hit 80, 90 and 100mph respectively, the weather service said.

A brief EF0 tornado was also recorded in Canajoharie.

“This event was classified as a serial derecho based on the 320 mile long damage swath and distribution of significant wind gusts – 75 mph and above,” the service said. “The fact that trees across the region were fully leafed exacerbated the resulting wind damage and produced widespread power outages.”

The weather service defines a derecho as a storm that produces wind damage that extends more than 240 miles, has gusts of at least 58 mph along most of its length. A derecho devastated parts of Iowa and other states in August as it sent wind damage across a 700-mile stretch. Winds there reached 110-140 mph.

The storm is one of the strongest severe weather events for the year, comparable to a May 15 storm that swept through causing wind damage, the service said.

More from the National Weather Service:


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