Friday, June 22, 2018
News Roundup

What's a derecho, and are blue headlights better?

Defining the derecho

I heard a TV weather announcer use the term "derecho" in a story about the bad storms that went through the mid-Atlantic and some Midwest states about a month ago. What is that?

A derecho (pronounced deh-RAY-cho, it's a Spanish word meaning "straight ahead") is a damaging windstorm that is associated with a line of severe thunderstorms. When storms form near a stationary front, they can drag down high winds from the air above the storm through cold downbursts, spawning the high winds of a derecho.

It can be as destructive as a tornado, though its winds come in a straight line instead of rotating.

A derecho can last for hours and travel hundreds of miles with winds of 100 mph or more. They are most common in May, June, July and August in the United States.

The June 29 derecho swept across the mid-Atlantic states as far west as Chicago, more than 700 miles, killing more than 20 people and leaving 5 million homes without power for days.

Dr. Jeff Masters, director of meteorology for wundergound.com, said on a recent segment of National Public Radio's All Things Considered that during the derecho, "we had over 30 thunderstorms with wind gusts of 80 miles per hour. … It's kind of the equivalent to having 30-plus weak tornadoes on the ground."

Remember the March 1993 superstorm that ravaged Central Florida for six hours? That was a derecho. It spawned five tornadoes in the Tampa Bay area and massive flooding along the gulf coast and killed almost 50 people in the state.

Blue headlights, pros and cons

Are blue headlights really any better than those the rest of us use?

Experts say the blue xenon lights are an improvement over the standard halogen car headlights in the following ways:

• Visibility. Drivers can see the road better in the dark and in low-visibility conditions.

• Longevity. The xenon lights last two to three times longer than standard headlights. And because they don't use wire filaments, they are more energy efficient as well.

• Brightness. The xenon lights are up to three times brighter than the standard halogen lights.

• Intensity. The xenon lights are stronger and highlight a more distinct image.

Those are all advantages for the driver of the car with the xenon lights. But what about the drivers approaching the lights from the other direction? The most common complaint about the lights is that their brightness can be a distraction. Some car manufacturers have responded to that by adding technology to angle the lights slightly.

Xenon lights are also very expensive, and are usually seen as part of a premium package on pricier cars.

Comments
Rodney Page’s takeaways from Rays-Yankees

Rodney Page’s takeaways from Rays-Yankees

1. SS Willy Adames had a nice night, and there appear to be many more in his future. He had two hits, an RBI and an inning-ending leaping catch on a line drive by Didi Gregorius in the fifth.2. DH C.J. Cron needs to shake things up. Take a different ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Marc Anthony pays a visit to the Trop

Marc Anthony pays a visit to the Trop

By Allana BarefieldTimes Staff WriterST. PETERSBURG — Latin pop star Marc Anthony visited Tropicana Field on Friday to see his beloved Yankees play the Rays.Anthony spent nearly an hour on the field before the game as fans and players surrounde...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Rays journal: Daniel Robertson’s return crowds up infield

Rays journal: Daniel Robertson’s return crowds up infield

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays reinstated INF Daniel Robertson from the 10-day disabled list (left hamstring strain). To make room, RHP Austin Pruitt was sent to Triple-A Durham."It's out of my mind. I don't think about (the hamstring) when I'm bend...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Brady Singer, Gators eliminated by Arkansas at CWS

Brady Singer, Gators eliminated by Arkansas at CWS

Times wiresOMAHA, Neb.  —Defending champion Florida failed to win a third straight elimination game, losing to Arkansas 5-2 Friday night and departing the College World Series.The Gators (49-21) had to win to force a rematch. The Razorback...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Rays hang on for a 2-1 win over Yankees

Rays hang on for a 2-1 win over Yankees

ST. PETERSBURG – Many times this season the Rays' strategy of opening the game with a short reliever and using the bullpen to finish hasn't had much success.Friday wasn't one of those nights.A total of six pitchers held the Yankees and their va...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Rowdies fall to Penn FC

Rowdies fall to Penn FC

By Darek SharpTimes CorrespondentST. PETERSBURG — For the second time this season, Penn FC got two goals from a former Rowdie that led the way to a win over Tampa Bay.Lucky Mkosana doubled his season total Friday in a comeback 2-1 win before an...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Ronald Darby’s friend: Jameis Winston got into second Uber ride alone

Ronald Darby’s friend: Jameis Winston got into second Uber ride alone

New details emerged Friday night about the Uber ride in Arizona in March 2016 that led to Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston's three-game suspension to start the upcoming season, including the fact that Winston was in a car that night with a former Vand...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Tampa boy, 14, shot on bike, police asking for help

Tampa boy, 14, shot on bike, police asking for help

TAMPA — Police want to know who shot 14-year-old De’Nico Thomas after a night of playing video games.Thomas was at a friend’s home Wednesday night and walking home when Tampa police said he was shot, resulting in life-threatening injuries.As he faces...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Carlton: That snake-like thing living under your refrigerator? It’s a skink. Welcome to Florida

Carlton: That snake-like thing living under your refrigerator? It’s a skink. Welcome to Florida

At first I thought it was a snake.Because wouldn’t it be typically Florida to come home and find a snake poking its nose out from under your stove? Which wouldn’t be a problem or anything. I would just have to move out is all.But no, the creature tha...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Man, 78, proposes to newfound love at ‘senior’ prom in Riverview

Man, 78, proposes to newfound love at ‘senior’ prom in Riverview

RIVERVIEWJaime Rodriguez, 78, popped the question Friday morning but skipped the "getting down on one knee" part."If I get on my knee, you’d have to help me," he told the emcee a moment before asking Luz Rivera to marry him.Rivera, 69, smiled and sai...
Updated: 6 hours ago