Trees downed in Schaghticoke, N.Y., during last week's derecho
© NWS Albany
Trees downed in Schaghticoke, N.Y., during last week's derecho.
The wind damage and severe thunderstorms on Oct. 7 were part of a rare weather event here in Southern New England: a derecho, and it caused widespread wind damage throughout the area.

It was a Weather Alert Day, and for good reason. A derecho is a prolonged, widespread wind damage event over 250 miles and with wind gusts 58 mph or stronger.

Events like this are rather rare, not only in Southern New England, but the northeast as a whole.

Lines of strong thunderstorms happen consistently in the summer, but most struggle to hold together and cause consistent damage over 250 miles. In October, derechos are even rarer.

In the past 25 years, derechos have only entered Southern New England three times.

Most recently was our October event, but before that, a derecho developed in Pennsylvania and weakened over Rhode Island in May 2018.

We need to look back to July of 1995 for the derecho that came before that, which stretched all the way from Ontario through southeastern Massachusetts.

Derechos tend to move quickly and contain multiple hazards from severe thunderstorms, microbursts, and even tornadoes on occasion.

Microbursts can happen without a derecho, but multiples of them can happen in a single derecho - and these microbursts caught up in the larger line may have caused much of the damage from our recent event.

Anthony Macari, Storm Team 10