Remembering derecho

A DERECHO, which swept through Ohio one year ago Saturday, along with a storm two days later resulted in the Buckeye State’s third costliest disaster in recent history.

Trees and power lines, including many in the immediate area, were “gone with the wind,” because of the derecho, described as “straight-line winds which can cause tornado-like damage.” The Ohio Insurance Institute website explained,”By definition, it includes wind gusts of at least 58 mph and typically travels along a relatively straight path.”

For many Ohioans, the term, “derecho,” had never been encountered previously, and some of its effects also were new – unfortunately – for residents.

A Methodist Church, which had stood in the Belmont County town of Somerton for nearly140 years, sustained so much damage that it had to be razed, and fund-raising now is under way to build a new church.

The June 29, 2012, derecho, however, was only the first part of Mother Nature’s “one-two punch.”

The second punch was another storm two days later, causing even more damage and power outages. “Ohio’s total tab from insured losses from this duet, estimated at $845 million, makes it the state’s third costliest disaster in recent history,” according to the institute’s website.

Ohio was the only state reporting major insured losses from both the June derecho and early July storms. Property Claims Services estimates that losses in the Buckeye State from these storms totaled $845 million in insured losses and 145,600 claims. Ohio had the highest losses from both storms.

Overall, federal, state and local disaster assistance in Ohio amounted to about $22.5 million because of the June 29 disaster.

Belmont County was earmarked for $130,068.28 in federal, state and local disaster assistance as a result of the derecho. That was the highest assistance given in the immediate area, according to figures from the Ohio Emergency Management Agency.

The assistance for Monroe County totaled $99,072.53 while the figure for Harrison County was $26,401.62.

Guernsey County was among the top five qualifying for the most assistance, and its total was $609,345. Nearby Noble County’s assistance amounted to $110,064.83.

Thirty-eight Ohio counties qualified for assistance, and tops on the list were Franklin County, $2,843,845; Licking, $829,995; Miami, $676,253; and Putnam, $660,079, with Guernsey County following. The total for all Ohio counties affected was $22,518,796.13.

The June 29, 2012, derecho, according to the National Weather Service, traveled 700 miles in 10 hours with an average speed of 60 mph.

High winds that day with gusts exceeding 80 mph were reported by the National Weather Service Wilmington for several places in Ohio, including Coldwater, Dayton, Gahanna and Lancaster. Two unconfirmed tornadoes were reported near Newcomerstown.

More than 800 preliminary thunderstorm/wind problems were reported with peak wind gusts of 80-100 mph, according to the NWS. The insurance website adds that as many as 4 million customers from Indiana to Virginia lost electrical power while about 1 million were affected by this loss in the Buckeye State.

On a national level, 13 wind-related and 34 heat-related deaths were caused by the June 29 derecho, which had an impact on 10 states and Washington, D.C., according to the website.The Ohio EMA reported that five Ohio deaths are blamed for the storms combined, one from a barn collapse and the other four were heat-related.

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