Not so common weather phenomenon crosses Alabama

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) - The National Weather Service says a not very common weather phenomenon, called a derecho, moved across central Alabama, causing damage and knocking out power in several counties from Mississippi to Georgia.

Alabama Power said Monday 48,000 customers were without power at its peak, but all but 100 had power restored. More storms Monday knocked out power to another 2,500.

Weather officials said a derecho is a widespread and long-lived straight line wind storm associated with a fast-moving squall line, producing winds over 58 mph. Its gust front moved across the state Sunday afternoon. The storm knocked thousands of trees down south of Interstate 20.

Mark Linhares, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Birmingham, said derechos are more prevalent in the north, but Alabama may get one once a year.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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