By: Paul Howerton
Winds gusting to 75 mph blasted through Hutchinson last night, only two days after severe thunderstorms tore through the city.
The highest measured gust was 75 mph at the Hutchinson airport at 1102 pm. The wind caused some power outages across the county. A tree fell on a residence in Hutchinson, and one building had significant roof damage. While Hutchinson sustained the highest winds, several locations across central Kansas measured gusts near 50 mph between 10 pm and 1130 pm. No damage has been reported in the other counties. The measured gusts at area airports include:
Hutchinson 75 mph at 1102 pm Ellsworth 52 mph at 1034 pm McPherson 52 mph at 1122 pm Salina 48 mph at 1114 pm Russell 47 mph at 1045 pm Great Bend 45 mph at 935 pmThe high winds this evening were caused by a different process from those two nights ago. Thunderstorms developed in northwest Oklahoma and southwest Kansas late this afternoon and evening, then diminished towards sunset. These storms rapidly diminished to the point that no cloud to ground lightning was detected in the areas with the high winds and rainfall quickly diminished. Only a trace of rain was reported at the Hutchinson airport as the shower passed overhead (Image 1). The lowest 12,000 feet of the atmosphere was extremely dry with temperatures falling rapidly with increasing altitude. Technically it would be the dry adiabatic lapse rate. Winds around 6000 feet were from the southwest at 40 to 50 mph. As the storms collapsed, air started to descend and warm, aided by the fairly strong and otherwise favorable southwest winds. Unlike a microburst which is usually the result of evaporation and cooling, temperatures warmed as the winds increased at the surface. Relative humidity also plummeted. The most impressive example of this process was at McPherson where the following conditions were observed:
Time Temp RH Wind 1042 pm 84 40 SW at 10 mph gusting to 30 mph 1115 pm 87 36 SW at 17 mph gusting to 23 mph 1120 pm 88 29 SW at 30 mph gusting to 37 mph 1122 pm 91 23 SW at 40 mph gusting to 52 mph 1125 pm 94 20 SW at 33 mph gusting to 52 mph 1131 pm 100 15 SW at 29 mph gusting to 52 mphOnly very weak radar echoes were evident around the time of the high winds at McPherson. (See image 2)