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Here's what produced Tuesday morning's severe storms

A long-range storm system produced damage from the Midwest into the Carolinas Tuesday.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A line of severe thunderstorms rolled through Charlotte and the Carolinas Tuesday morning ahead of more dangerous heat. The storms prompted the National Weather Service to issue severe thunderstorm warnings because of the threat of damaging winds and hail.

Beginning Monday in the Midwest and stretching into the Carolinas Tuesday morning, the storms brought down trees and powerlines and produced hail.

Here's what happened:

Storms in the Midwest:

A series of bow echoes and thunderstorms marched through the Midwest Monday. It left behind wind damage across eight states stretching from Wisconsin through North Carolina. 

Overnight, the storms pushed south and east towards the Carolinas.

Several bow echoes, which are described as a bowing line of storms, racked up storm damage reports as it moved south and south east. Hundreds of trees were snapped or uprooted from the intense winds which, at times, exceed 60 mph. Some of the fallen trees blocked roads or landed on homes.

Fort Wayne International Airport’s recorded its highest recorded wind gust of 98 mph which are speeds typically found in a low end category 2 hurricane.  

Here is an example of the intense storms in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

North Carolina storm damage:

Starting just after 5 a.m. Tuesday,  Ashe County was placed under a large Severe Thunderstorm Warning because of a bowing line of storms moving south from Virginia. 

This storm was racing south at 50 mph as it moved into North Carolina. The storms slowed down steadily over the next few hours as it moved towards Asheville, Charlotte and other locations across western North Carolina.

"We don't normally see this type of storm system in the Carolinas," WCNC Charlotte's Larry Sprinkle said during a streaming weather update Tuesday morning.

By 8 a.m., severe thunderstorm warnings, issued because of the threat of damaging wind and hail, had moved into Mecklenburg County.

Most of North Carolina's storm damage came in the form of wind damage in the mountainous counties of Avery, Watauga and Ashe County. This is because the storm was the strongest as it moved across cities including Blowing Rock and Boone.

Additional storm damage was reported across the greater Charlotte area.

In Cabarrus County, nickel-to-quarter size hail was reported around Concord. A WCNC Charlotte viewer sent in this photo of wind damage near the city.

Credit: angelwingsfurniture

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By the time the storm reached Charlotte, it had slowed its advancing speed to 10 mph. This speed allowed slow-moving rain to produce flooding and significant ponding of water on the roads. The storm moved through Charlotte during the morning rush hour commute.

Was this a Derecho?

UPDATE: Yes. The National Weather Service officially deemed the wind damage from Indiana to West Virginia was a derecho. Winds ranged from 60 to 100 mph.

The National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center defines a derecho as:

Derecho: Destruction is similar to that of a tornado, the damage typically occurs in one direction along a relatively straight path. By definition, if the swath of wind damage extends at least 240-400+ miles, is at least 60 miles wide, includes wind gusts of at least 58 mph (93 km/h) along most of its length, and also includes several, well-separated 75 mph (121 km/h) or greater gusts, the event may be classified as a derecho.

The storm damage path from this storm did reach 240 miles as required by the definition of a derecho. 

This was a "Mesoscale Convective System," which is a large scale storm system that can spread across an entire state and last more than 12 hours. One of the more famous derechos to happen in this area happened 10 years ago, June 29, 2012. 

RELATED: What is a 'QLCS'? The common cause for most of the tornadoes in the Carolinas

 

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