- Formation and Nature: Derechos are widespread windstorms with straight-line winds, while tornadoes are narrow, rotating columns of air.
- Damage and Impact: Derechos cause widespread damage along their path, while tornadoes produce concentrated and localized destruction.
- Forecasting and Warning: Derechos are more challenging to predict accurately, while tornadoes have more advanced warning systems.
What is Derecho?
Derecho is characterized as a windstorm associated with fast-moving showers and thunderstorms. They can produce massive winds that go up to 100 miles per hour, so they are sometimes mistaken to be a hurricane. Derecho occurs mainly in parts of the United States but is most common in the Great Lakes and Midwest.
The damage caused by the Derecho is quite extensive; it destroys buildings and trees. This is because a Derecho is difficult to predict and thus comes with short warning times. “Derecho” comes from the Spanish dictionary and means “straight ahead.” In other words, it means that a Derecho’s winds are straight in appearance.
A Derecho is mainly associated with lightning, hail, and heavy rain. The occurrence of a Derecho is primarily in the summer season, and it is thus advised to prepare for the calamity in advance as it is difficult to predict.
What is Tornado?
A tornado is characterized as one of the other natural calamities that cause enormous destruction after. It is said to be a continuous column of air that starts with a thunderstorm and extends to the ground. A tornado can be identified by its funnel shape, also known as a “twister.”
A tornado grows larger and larger with time when twisting or hurling. A tornado takes up to a speed of 300 miles per hour and can result in catastrophic destruction. They are most commonly found in the southern and central parts of the United States.
A tornado is comparatively easier to predict than a Derecho; thus, massive destruction can be prevented. The people are displaced from the affected area to limit the calamity. People are advised to have a plan for shelter and should be attentive to the warnings and alerts issued.
Difference Between Derecho and Tornado
- A Derecho is said to be a widespread thunderstorm that is associated with fast-moving showers and thunderstorms. In contrast, a tornado is a continuous column of air that starts with a thunderstorm and extends to the ground.
- A Derecho appears to be like straight-line winds, which is why it is often mistaken as a hurricane, while in contrast, a tornado seems to have rotating winds.
- The size of a Derecho can go up to hundreds of miles, and they remain for hours while, on the other hand, a tornado has a height of up to a few hundred yards and lasts up to a few minutes.
- An approximate speed of a Derecho is expected to be 100 mph or more, while, on the other hand, an approximate speed of a tornado can go up to 300 mph or more.
- It is quite tricky for the meteorological department to predict a Derecho whereas, a tornado can be sometimes expected before coming.
- A Derecho commonly occurs during summer, while a tornado appears in the spring or early summer.
Comparison Between Derecho and Tornado
|Parameter of Comparison||Derecho||Tornado|
|Definition||It is a widespread thunderstorm that is associated with fast-moving showers and thunderstorms||It is a continuous column of air that starts from a thunderstorm and goes to the ground|
|Appearance||Straight line winds||Rotating winds|
|Size||Hundreds of miles and are for hours||Hundreds of yards and are only for a few minutes|
|Speed||100 mph or more||300 mph or more|
|Occurrence||In summer||In spring or early summer|
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Piyush Yadav has spent the past 25 years working as a physicist in the local community. He is a physicist passionate about making science more accessible to our readers. He holds a BSc in Natural Sciences and Post Graduate Diploma in Environmental Science. You can read more about him on his bio page.