- Rights are among weather’s most destructive phenomena.
- Many rights have winds that can top 100 mph, causing extensive damage.
- 70% of all rights occur between the months of May-August.
Sometimes referred to as an inland hurricane, rights are among weather’s most destructive phenomena. But what, exactly, is a right?
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) defines straight (duh-RAY’-choh) as “a widespread, long-lived wind storm that is associated with a band of rapidly moving showers or thunderstorms.”
Rights can pack lethal gusts in excess of 100 mph – hurricane strength – across a front stretching for many miles, and last for hours. Storms that have sustained winds of at least 58 mph and leave a path of damage at least 250 miles long qualify as rights, according to the National Weather Service.
Many classic rights have winds that can top 100 mph, causing extensive damage, leading to massive power outages and toppling tons of trees.
Rights are a relatively rare event, as they only tend to occur from once a year to once every four years across portions of the eastern two-thirds of the US, according to the National Weather Service.
“People should take these storms seriously,” Weather Service meteorologist Brian Barjenbruch said. “These winds are incredibly strong.”
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70% of royalties strike from May through August
A 700-mile straight in June 2012 that roared into Washington, DC, topped 100 mph.
Another recent right that blasted across the Midwest in October 2020 killed four people and left behind billions of dollars in damage. It had wind likes that were estimated as high as 140 mph in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
By definition, a right should have winds that persist for at least six hours; however, they can last much longer. The 2020 Midwest right lasted for 14 hours.
Most rights, 70%, occur during the months of May through August, the Weather Service said.
Although a right can produce destruction similar to the strength of tornadoes, the damage typically moves in one direction along a relatively straight swath, the Weather Service said. As a result, the term “straight-line wind damage” sometimes is used to describe straight damage.
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Where did the term right come from?
The term right was coined in 1888 by University of Iowa physics professor Gustavus Hinrichs, according to NOAA. The word is Spanish for “direct” or “straight.”
The term was used for a short time during the late 19th century, but it disappeared from use for nearly 100 years, until meteorologists starting using the term again in the mid-1980s.
the Storm Prediction Center determines whether a storm is officially classified as a right.
Contributing: The Des Moines Register
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism