25 years ago: Before the infamous "derecho," another windstorm blasted through Virginia

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A decade before the term "derecho" became a household name, another major windstorm blew through Central and Southwest Virginia.

On June 4th, 1993, a destructive storm complex blew through our area, causing millions of dollars worth of damage in a matter of minutes.

Winds of more than 80 miles an hour knocked down power lines and trees.
Country singer Marty Stuart was scheduled to perform at Roanoke's Victory Staudium that night, but organizers were forced to cancel.

The worst damage happened in Lynchburg. Faithful members of First Baptist church sobbed at the sight of the destruction. The violent storm punched a hole in their roof and caused the building's steeple to collapse into the sanctuary.

Ed Buckley, a member of the congregation remembered "I think it's going to be a tremendous task and a tremendous expense to repair this church. Thank goodness it was only the sanctuary and no the entire building."
Another historic landmark, the Academy of Music Theater also suffered heavy damage. Preservationists had just started their long their quest to restore it.

And as Central Virginia would experience again in June of 2012, it toppled trees and power lines, leaving many without power for up to a week or more.

WHAT IS A DERECHO?
A derecho is a long line of thunderstorms with embedded downbursts. When the wet air in a thunderstorm meets the drier air surrounding it, the water in the air evaporates. When water evaporates, it cools the air around it. Since the cool air is denser, it rapidly sinks to the ground and creates strong winds, or downbursts.

For a storm to be classified as a derecho, the whole area of the storm must have winds of at least 58 miles per hour and it must produce a swath of damage that is at least 240 miles long.