New York State Labor Day derechos

The New York State Labor Day Derechos were two derecho events that occurred on Labor Day, September 7, 1998. One derecho moved through northern and central New York state, and the other would start in southeastern Michigan and move through northeastern Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Long Island.

Syracuse Labor Day derecho

Doppler radar animation of the Syracuse Labor Day derecho

The northernmost derecho (dubbed the Syracuse Labor Day Derecho and referred to locally as the Labor Day Storm), got its start in northwestern New York just before midnight on September 7 after several thunderstorm cells coming from Ontario converged to become a bow echo. It quickly moved southeastward through New York. Some of the worst damage occurred at Rochester, Syracuse, and Utica. Three people were killed, two of them at the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse. An 89-mph (140-km/h) wind gust was recorded at the Rochester airport and a 77-mph (128-km/h) gust was recorded at the Syracuse airport. Winds peaked at 115 mph (192 km/h). Tens of thousands of trees were blown down. Embedded within this derecho was a supercell thunderstorm, which produced an extensive damage path from the Syracuse area, through the northern suburbs of Albany, and into western Vermont. Lightning with this particular storm was reported by many in its path as extreme, creating twilight conditions in Rochester, and daylight conditions on its rampage down the Mohawk Valley. The constant lightning was striking as many as 10–20 times per second. Damage was estimated at $130 million. Many in the region were without electricity for over a week.

New York City Labor Day derecho

Map of the Labor Day Derechos (courtesy of NOAA)

As the Syracuse Derecho moved into New England, a new derecho started developing in southeastern Michigan at around 4 A.M. EDT and followed a track just to the south of the first one. The derecho raced through northeastern Ohio and Pennsylvania, New Jersey and ended up in New York in the mid-afternoon hours. Four people were killed and 62 were injured, mainly in the New Jersey and the New York City area, but damage also extended east to Long Island and Southwestern Connecticut. Thousands of trees were blown down and about 100 boats were overturned. Over 300,000 customers lost power and power was not restored until five days after the event. Four small tornadoes were spawned by this storm, including an F2 tornado in Lynbrook, New York, that caused 6 injuries and $1 million in damage.[1]

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