The August 26-27, 1965 derecho

Dear Tom,

My parents were telling me that they remember being awakened by violent overnight thunderstorms that hit the Chicago area, probably during the 1960s. Details?

Thanks,
Dennis Grimm

Dear Dennis,

They are remembering the derecho that swept the Chicago area across midnight on Aug. 26-27, 1965. The derecho (a long-duration line of damaging thunderstorms) formed in Iowa during the evening of Aug. 26, then raced east across Illinois and Indiana into Ohio packing wind gusts in excess of 100 mph. It caused more than $7 million of damage in the Chicago area, downing thousands of trees and knocking out power and telephone service for days. Countless homes were destroyed or damaged. Lansing received 4.50 inches of flooding rain in just one hour. While there were no fatalities in Chicago, five perished and 146 were injured along its path from Iowa to Ohio.

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