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Weather -- Beware: Derecho season is upon us

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news Bemidji, 56619
Bemidji Pioneer
(218) 333-9819 customer support
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

Ahhh, the Fourth of July weekend. The "experts" are forecasting temperatures around average for this time of year - highs in the upper 70s, lows in the upper 50s, providing relief from Thursday's heat advisory and its accompanying hot and humid conditions. Fortunately, persistent low clouds kept temperatures somewhat cooler than they could have been. So instead of roasting in a range it was more like simmering in a slumgullion. A slight chance of thunderstorms exists for Sunday, potentially marring an otherwise beautiful holiday weekend.

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July 4 marks the 12th anniversary of the Boundary Waters-Canadian derecho which developed west of Fargo and raced just south of Bemidji and across the northern United States and southern Canada before eventually fizzling out over Maine. A derecho is essentially a long lasting, fast moving band of thunderstorms that takes on a bowed shape. This particular derecho moved across Minnesota at speeds approaching 100 mph. Its lasting legacy is the estimated 25 million trees it downed in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, commonly referred to as the Boundary Waters Blowdown. Those downed trees help feed the area's spring forest fires.

For those of you who partake in camping, it is wise to remember that northern Minnesota is prime territory for the development of early summer derechoes. Stay informed as to local weather conditions and take shelter if storms head your way. A tent provides little protection against violent winds and the resulting falling tree limbs. Boating also brings its share of dangers. At the first sign of severe weather, find safe shelter. Portable weather radios are inexpensive and many smart phone apps are available that can alert you to approaching severe weather as well as nearby lightning strikes.

Tom Siemers is the Pioneer's circulation manager. Email him at tsiemers@bemidjipioneer.com

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