A rare weather system called a derecho blew through Branson the night of a deadly duck boat tour. Senior Meteorologist Doug Kramer of the National Weather Service office in Springfield calls a derecho a line of thunderstorms on steroids.

Storm that hit Branson during duck boat sinking known as a derecho

“It’s a squall line of thunderstorms that’s unusually-intense and travels an unusual amount of distance,” he tells Missourinet.

Kramer says the July 19 system included winds of 45 to 75 miles per hour. It started in southern Nebraska, traveled through west-central, southern and southwest Missouri and into Arkansas.

He says Missouri is within the bulls-eye for the type of storm known for being unusually intense and traveling hundreds of miles.

“From a nationwide standpoint, we’re (Missouri) in the maximum area where we typically see these more frequently,” Kramer says. “So, like southwest Missouri, northwest Arkansas, northeast Oklahoma and southeast Kansas – that four-state region typically sees three of them about every four years.”

Kramer says increased moisture levels in the Ozarks likely leads to the frequency of derechos here. Seventeen of the 31 passengers on board died in the July boat sinking.

The storm caused widespread tree and power line damage in Missouri.

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