389 An Analysis of a Trio of Derechos Affecting the Midsouth Region on Memorial Day Weekend

Monday, 8 January 2018
Exhibit Hall 3 (ACC) (Austin, Texas)
William Baldwin, WeatherTAP, Crossville, TN

Three derechos brought significant wind damage to the Midsouth during the Memorial Day weekend. The storms also produced extremely large hail, flooding, and a few tornadoes. Damaging straight-line winds of up to 100 mph damaged numerous homes and businesses. Widespread tree and power line damage was reported across multiple states. Memphis experienced its third largest power outage ever. In addition, air travel at both Nashville and Memphis International airports, including FedEx’s Memphis hub, was heavily impacted. Several locations throughout the affected area broke all-time highest wind records. There were over 850 reports of severe weather. The conditions that developed ahead of this severe weather event prompted the Storm Prediction Center to issue a rare Particularly Dangerous Situation (PDS) severe thunderstorm watch. Convective available potential energy (CAPE) values of 3,000-4,000, dewpoints in the 70s, an approaching mid-level disturbance, and leftover boundaries from earlier convection all combined to produce this historic severe weather event.
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