Most West Virginians had never heard the word derecho until June 29, 2012. When they learned what it meant, it left such a mark on their psyches that the National Weather Service in Charleston called it "the D word" when a possible threat arose earlier this week.
The sight of a backward "C" formation moving east on the Weather Channel radar strikes fear in the hearts of all right-thinking people.
Most West Virginians escaped a similar experience this week and counted their lucky stars.
But blessed also are those who have assessed and planned and adjusted to soften the impact on the public should such a rare event hit the state again.
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's administration released its after-action report on what the public sector could do better when damage to power lines, phone lines and cell towers disrupts vital services and communications.
* The state panel recommended better protection for emergency generators; high priority for facilities like universities and hospitals that serve large groups of people; improved communications between utilities and public agencies; and rationing of fuel purchases so gas hogs don't prevent others from getting vital fuel.
* Appalachian Power wants to improve coordination of transmission line crews and distribution line crews; make more use of helicopters to diagnose problems; be better prepared to house emergency crews; widen and improve maintenance of rights of way, and more.
* Members of the West Virginia Oil & Gas Marketers Association have also considered their options. Some companies now bring in more supply when bad weather threatens. Other companies have bought portable generators so they can pump fuel.
The 2012 derecho knocked out power to as many as 1.6 million West Virginians. It was the worst storm in Appalachian Power Co.'s history.
Going through an experience like that was hell.
Coming out of it better able to withstand a similar occurrence is everybody's responsibility.