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The 20th anniversary of the May 31st Derecho is shortly approaching

NOW: The 20th anniversary of the May 31st Derecho is shortly approaching

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WATERTOWN, Wis. (CBS 58) - -Some severe weather events are in a class all by themselves.  One such episode is the derecho of May 31st, 1998.

Very strong winds exceeding 100 mph in association with a complex of storms practically tore through the Badger State during the middle of the night when many of us were sleeping. A path of destruction was left in its wake. People had no power for close to a week. The Watertown Municipal Airport clocked winds at 128 mph.  One Washington County woman even died when a tree fell on her.

This particular storm even changed how words are chosen when severe warnings are actually issued. This derecho caused Lake Michigan to rise 10 feet at one point. In all the storm traveled a thousand miles, moving from Minnesota to New York.

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