Anniversary of July 22, 2003 Severe Mid South Derecho

"Hurricane Elvis" - Anniversary of the Mid South Derecho

A large bow echo moved across portions of the Mid South on July 22, 2003, which resulted in significant wind damage that impacted several communities along a path across eastern Arkansas, southern portions of west Tennessee, and far northern Mississippi.  An unofficial mesonet station recorded a wind gust of 102 mph in downtown Memphis, Tennessee.  Officially, numerous wind gusts within the core of the derecho exceeded 75 mph.  This extensive swath of wind damage actually stretched along a path length of approximately 400 miles, beginning over northern Arkansas and continuing into northern Georgia.  These type of significant wind events are termed derechos which often produce extensive and extreme wind damage across large areas.  Significant derecho events are rare across the Mid South, which makes this particular derecho quite memorable.  Derechos often produce winds to hurricane strength.  With this in mind, several residents across the Mid South associated this severe wind event with a hurricane and termed this particular event with the slang name of "Hurricane Elvis".  Although derechos can produce hurricane force winds, they form in completely different environments than do hurricanes.  Below are links to both scientific and public descriptions of this historical derecho event. 


Technical Paper written by local Memphis NWS Staff - "The Mid South Derecho - 22 July 2003"

Presentation by local Memphis NWS Staff - "July 22, 2003 - The Mid South Derecho"

Public Write-Up from the NWS Storm Prediction Center - "Derecho Effects on Electrical Power in Cities"

What is a Derecho?

Significant Events (such as the Mid South Derecho) Lead to NWS Service Evolution



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