CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – (Author’s note: parts of this story appeared in 2020 coverage of the 8th anniversary)
June 29, 2012 still haunts a lot of people in the area after a derecho plowed through the area knocking down trees, utility poles and anything that wasn’t tied down as winds up to 78 miles per hour raced through the entire WOWK viewing area and beyond.
The high temperature that day was 103 degrees (the record high for that day) and the amount of available heat energy was at the top end of the charts..
The derecho of 2012 took off early in the afternoon in the Midwest and raced to the east across the afternoon, hitting the WOWK area between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.
Billions of dollars in damage was done and millions of customers had no power and no communications after the storm. A major problem after the derecho of 2012, aside from the actual storm damage, was the intense heat that lingered. Highs were in the 90s and there were nearly 3 dozen deaths in the storm zone after the storm due to health issues related to the heat wave.
A full look back from the National Weather Service about the derecho of 2012 and how they handled it can be found here.
On this 10th anniversary, we solicited memories from viewers and here are a few of their quotes:
“Yep I remember cutting up trees that took out my building with temperatures over 100 and nothing cold to drink and no electric for a couple weeks.”David Scarberry
“Absolutely traumatizing, you cannot sleep in a cold shower, try as you may! But…tons of caring folks sharing all they had, those with generators were running power cords across streets, restaurants cooking on grills for FREE meals, giving their ice away, etc…. never say that word (derecho) again!!”Gloria Boggess
“This day scared me so bad and one I’ll always remember. I had went into labor with my son when the storm hit. We had to drive from Hometown to Charleston and of course my husbands car had to be filled up with gas so we also had to make a stop in the middle of all that mess before continuing on the road to the hospital. Thankfully we made it there safe and my boy was born the next day at 7:57 am. He will be 10 years old tomorrow”Jamie Stephens Dillon
Thousands of people have similar memories across multiple states from Iowa to eastern Virginia of the issues with no power, coping with heat and shortage of supplies or even medical treatments.
The StormTracker 13 meteorologists hope we all take the chance to think back on this storm, check our level of preparedness and use the chance to evaluate our storm supplies. While storms like this are rare on such a large scale, severe storms can happen and cause smaller pockets of damage that can mimic the derecho damage. An extensive list of storm supplies can be found right here.
One way to stay ahead of storms is to download and use the StormTracker 13 weather app. It’s free and you can download the app by clicking on the link directly below.