Derecho Storm 2013: Massive Storm System Threatens 60 Million on East Coast

Meteorologists are warning that an extremely large storm system known as a derecho could affect 60 million people as it approaches the Mid-Atlantic states.

A derecho, which is capable of causing destruction similar to that of tornadoes, is a "widespread, long-lived wind storm that is associated with a band of rapidly moving showers or thunderstorms," according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

"It's a cluster of thunderstorms that congeal into a line, and that line will then start moving east or southeast, and as it progresses the winds increase and produce damage along that path," Jim Keeney, weather program manager at the National Weather Service's office in Kansas City, Mo.

Meteorologists recently released a report stating that there is an increased chance of extreme weather this year, including hurricanes.

U.S. forecasters are warning residents in the region to prepare for "an extremely active" 2013 hurricane season.

Computer models show that there is a "70 percent likelihood" that this season will see up to six major hurricanes with sustained winds above 111 mph, according to the 2013 hurricane outlook published by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Climate Prediction Center on Thursday.

The half year hurricane season, which officially begins June 1, is forecasted to produce between 13 to 20 named storms, those being storms with sustained winds of 39 mph or higher. Of those storms, up to 11 could become hurricanes, with sustained winds of 74 mph or higher.

According to the National Hurricane Center, the average number of storms in a season, which officially ends on Nov. 30, is 12 named storms, six hurricanes and three major hurricanes.

The 2012 hurricane season produced 19 named storms, including 10 hurricanes and two major hurricanes. That season had an above average number of named storms, but the number of major hurricanes was below the forecasted average.