It was a word that practically no one in our area had ever heard before: derecho. We didn't know what it was on the night of June 29, 2012, but we all knew what it was that next morning.

Today, June 29th, marks five years since a derecho, defined by Wikipedia as a "widespread, long-lived, straight-line wind storm that is associated with a land-based, fast-moving group of severe thunderstorms," plowed across South Jersey, leaving over 200,000 Atlantic City Electric customers with power -- many for over a week -- and toppling thousands of trees in our region.

And if you ask people about that night, they usually say two things: (1) the lightning was non-stop and (2) there were trees down everywhere. Trees on utility poles, trees on homes, trees on cars, trees blocking roads -- trees everywhere.

Several people were killed in our area, including two boys in Salem County when a tree fell on their tent while they were camping. Wind gusts of 60 to 90 MPH were reported practically everywhere. Winds at Atlantic City International Airport in Pomona were sustained at over 58 MPH for over ten minutes, with a peak gust of 87 MPH.


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