Family cabin in Ely, Minn. repeatedly hit by severe thunderstorms

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Dear Tom,
In recent years, our family cabin in Ely, Minn., has been repeatedly been hit by severe thunderstorms. Is there a reason why this keeps happening?
— Elizabeth Berry, Crystal Lake
Dear Elizabeth,
The Upper Midwest is a favored location for derechos, a long-lasting high wind event in which downburst winds, at times in excess of 100 mph, plow out of a fast-moving line of thunderstorms, producing swaths of damage extending for hundreds or even thousands of miles. Derechos tend to form in summer along the northern edge of a hot and humid air mass. They can occur several times in seasons when intense heat lies across the central and southern Midwest, or seldom when the heat dome expands north. Iowa meteorologist Gustavus Hinrichs coined the term “derecho,” a Spanish word meaning “straight ahead,” in the 1880s.

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