As New York City braces for severe thunderstorms Thursday, weather experts are warning that a meteorological phenomenon known as a derecho could hit the region.

Derechos are aggressive thunderstorms with high winds that can cause destruction similar to tornadoes. The Storm Prediction Center Web page describes derechos thusly:

Widespread, long-lived wind storm that is associated with a band of rapidly moving showers or thunderstorms. Although a derecho can produce destruction similar to that of tornadoes, the damage typically is directed in one direction along a relatively straight swath. As a result, the term "straight-line wind damage" sometimes is used to describe derecho damage. By definition, if the wind damage swath extends more than 240 miles and includes wind gusts of at least 58 mph then the event may be classified as a derecho.

And just how likely is it that a derecho will hit New York? Tough to tell. Meteorologist John Hart told Bloomberg,“There is no way to have high confidence in such a forecast. We decided the risk of that scenario happening was high enough that we would highlight it.”

Governor Cuomo issued a statement urging New Yorkers to prepare for the potential storms. For tips on how to remain safe, visit the governor's site.

In June, a fierce derecho swept through the DC area causing extensive power outages and killing multiple residents.

See below for the damage from June's derecho:

Loading Slideshow...
  • June 29, 2012, D.C. Derecho Storm

    A car was crushed in the parking lot of the WRC-TV/NBC4 studios in the Tenleytown neighborhood of the District of Columbia.

  • June 29, 2012, D.C. Derecho Storm

    Tree damage on Chesapeake Street NW in the North Cleveland Park neighborhood in the District of Columbia.

  • June 29, 2012, D.C. Derecho Storm

    Tree damage near the Lincoln Memorial.

  • June 29, 2012, D.C. Derecho Storm

    A truck on 8th Street SE near Pennsylvania Avenue on Capitol Hill in the District of Columbia was damaged in the storm.

  • June 29, 2012, D.C. Derecho Storm

    Tree damage on Chesapeake Street NW in the North Cleveland Park neighborhood in the District of Columbia.

  • June 29, 2012, D.C. Derecho Storm

    Tree damage outside Woodrow Wilson High School in the Tenleytown neighborhood in the District of Columbia.

  • June 29, 2012, D.C. Derecho Storm

    A split tree blocks part of Ridge Road in Rock Creek Park in the District of Columbia.

  • June 29, 2012, D.C. Derecho Storm

    A tree blocks part of the intersection of Connecticut Avenue and Kalorama Road outside the Dresden apartments in the District of Columbia.

  • June 29, 2012, Derecho Storm

    A Metropolitan Police Department cruiser and Pepco crews respond to a tree that uprooted a section of sidewalk on 31st Street NW near Woodland Drive in the Woodley Park neighborhood in the District of Columbia.

  • June 29, 2012, D.C. Derecho Storm

    Tree damage off Observatory Circle near the Vice President's Residence in the District of Columbia.

  • June 29, 2012, Derecho Storm

    Trees block U Street NW at 37th Street NW in the Glover Park neighborhood in the District of Columbia.

  • June 29, 2012, D.C. Derecho Storm

    Tree damage in Garfield Park on Capitol Hill in the District of Columbia.

  • June 29, 2012, D.C. Derecho Storm

    Storm damage on the porch of a home on Ashmead Place NW in the Adams Morgan neighborhood in the District of Columbia.

  • June 29, 2012, D.C. Derecho Storm

    A home on Massachusetts Avenue near Little Falls Parkway in Bethesda, Md., sustained damage from a fallen tree.

  • June 29, 2012, D.C. Derecho

    A tree crushed the fence separating the Department of Homeland Security headquarters and the studios of WRC-TV/NBC4 near American University in the District of Columbia.

  • June 29, 2012, D.C. Derecho

    A tree in the 3000 block of Massachusetts Avenue NW on Embassy Row in the District of Columbia was snapped during the storm.

  • June 30, 2012, D.C. Derecho

    Part of a fallen tree in Dupont Circle in Washington D.C.

  • June 30, 2012, D.C. Derecho

    Part of a fallen tree in the Dupont Circle neighborhood in NW Washington D.C.

  • June 30, 2012, D.C. Derecho

    Part of a fallen tree crushed the read of a sedan in the Dupont Circle neighborhood in NW Washington D.C.

  • June 30, 2012, D.C. Derecho

    Part of a fallen tree in the Dupont Circle neighborhood in NW Washington D.C.

  • June 30, 2012, D.C. Derecho

    A fallen tree destroyed a car in the Dupont Circle neighborhood in NW Washington D.C.

  • June 30, 2012, D.C. Derecho

    A fallen tree destroyed a car in the Dupont Circle neighborhood in NW Washington D.C.

  • June 30, 2012, D.C. Derecho

    A passer-by shooting a photo of branches that destroyed a car in the Dupont Circle neighborhood in NW Washington D.C.

  • June 30, 2012, D.C. Derecho

    Part of a fallen tree damaged the rear of a car in the Dupont Circle neighborhood in NW Washington D.C.

  • June 30, 2012, D.C. Derecho

    Broken branches in the Dupont Circle neighborhood in NW Washington D.C.