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Consumer Insight

June 28, 2023

What You Should Know About Derechos

Derechos are uniquely dangerous. Unlike tornados, which rotate, the winds from a derecho move in a straight line. Severe thunderstorms cause this type of wind event. The wind created by a derecho is strong and happens quickly.

Derechos move quickly. There isn't much time to prepare for a derecho. Check your local weather each morning and monitor the forecast throughout the day to see if there is a chance of severe storms. If severe weather is possible for your area, take time to prepare. A severe thunderstorm warning is the only warning you will receive before or during a derecho. However, derechos are not long-lasting.  

Derechos can be deadly. According to the National Weather Service (NWS), derecho winds move at least 58 mph and have been recorded as high as 130 mph. They cause more deaths than EF0 and EF1 tornadoes combined. Because the wind travels fast, you have little time to prepare, making derechos dangerous.  

Damage from derechos happens along a straight path. Derecho means “straight ahead” in Spanish. Derechos can happen in groups, so when one happens, others may follow in different locations during the next few days. 

Outdoor exposure during derechos causes higher risks. You are at an increased risk if you are outside and don't have access to shelter, like when you are camping and hiking. Almost half of the deaths caused by derechos happen in cars or boats because they are likely to be overturned by high winds. 

Prepare for derechos as you would prepare for a thunderstorm. When the NWS predicts severe thunderstorms, a derecho is possible. Prepare for a severe thunderstorm or derecho by going inside, avoiding landline phones, and unplugging electrical appliances. Stay indoors until your local weather service says it is safe to return to normal activities. 

About the National Association of Insurance Commissioners

As part of our state-based system of insurance regulation in the United States, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) provides expertise, data, and analysis for insurance commissioners to effectively regulate the industry and protect consumers. The U.S. standard-setting organization is governed by the chief insurance regulators from the 50 states, the District of Columbia and five U.S. territories. Through the NAIC, state insurance regulators establish standards and best practices, conduct peer reviews, and coordinate regulatory oversight. NAIC staff supports these efforts and represents the collective views of state regulators domestically and internationally.