Severe Weather and Heat Bursts July 14
Thunderstorms developed across western Nebraska and moved into south central Nebraska Monday evening and night. Damaging thunderstorm wind gusts were the most common hazard from the storms, although large hail was also reported. As the storms weakened, heat bursts developed, which caused temperatures to jump to the upper 70s to near 80 degrees, and the wind to gust to 40-60 mph.
Heat bursts are caused by decaying thunderstorms and develop in a unique environment. The setup for a heat burst requires dry air directly beneath a weakening elevated thunderstorm. When a thunderstorm is weakening, air within the thunderstorm begins to sink. If the sinking air is very dry and high enough, it will begin to accelerate toward the ground since it is more dense. Any remaining precipitation will fall through the dry air and evaporate. As the air continues downward, it warms rapidly due to compression.
The following image depicts the temperature and relative humidity profile at the Regional Airport in Grand Island, NE. As the rain arrived, the relative humidity increased, and then the relative humidity dropped, and the temperature rose with the heat burst which occurred shortly after 2 am CDT (0702 UTC). The graphic is courtesy of MesoWest.
Preliminary storm reports from Monday evening and night are listed below.
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.TIME... ...EVENT... ...CITY LOCATION... ...LAT.LON
.DATE... ....MAG.... ..COUNTY LOCATION..ST.. ...SOURCE.
0721 PM TSTM WND GST 4 S GOTHENBURG 40.87N 100.16W
07/14/2008 E60.00 MPH DAWSON NE TRAINED SPOTTER
0723 PM TSTM WND GST WILLOW ISLAND 40.88N 100.07W
07/14/2008 E70.00 MPH DAWSON NE TRAINED SPOTTER
60 TO 70 MPH WINDS
0818 PM HAIL 5 NW KEARNEY 40.75N 99.15W
07/14/2008 E0.75 INCH BUFFALO NE TRAINED SPOTTER
MEASURED 42 MPH WIND GUST
0818 PM HAIL LITCHFIELD 41.16N 99.15W
07/14/2008 E1.00 INCH SHERMAN NE PUBLIC
0826 PM HAIL 8 WNW KEARNEY 40.74N 99.23W
07/14/2008 E1.00 INCH BUFFALO NE STORM CHASER
52 MPH MEASURED WIND GUST WITH THE QUARTER SIZE HAIL
1240 AM HAIL 4 SW COZAD 40.82N 100.04W
07/15/2008 E1.00 INCH DAWSON NE LAW ENFORCEMENT
1246 AM HAIL 4 SW COZAD 40.82N 100.04W
07/15/2008 E1.75 INCH DAWSON NE LAW ENFORCEMENT
0202 AM TSTM WND GST GRAND ISLAND 40.92N 98.37W
07/15/2008 M61.00 MPH HALL NE ASOS
GUSTS CAUSED BY HEAT BURST.
0229 AM DOWNBURST 6 WSW CHAPMAN 40.99N 98.27W
07/15/2008 MERRICK NE PUBLIC
61 MPH WINDS FROM A HEAT BURST.
0310 AM TSTM WND GST AURORA 40.87N 98.00W
07/15/2008 M60.00 MPH HAMILTON NE AWOS
GUST CAUSED BY HEAT BURST.
0337 AM TSTM WND DMG CENTRAL CITY 41.11N 98.00W
07/15/2008 MERRICK NE LAW ENFORCEMENT
POWER OUTAGES AND LARGE TREE LIMBS DOWN ACROSS TOWN DUE
TO THUNDERSTORM WIND GUSTS.
0400 AM TSTM WND DMG YORK 40.87N 97.60W
07/15/2008 YORK NE LAW ENFORCEMENT
12 TO 15 INCH DIAMETER TREE LIMB WAS BLOWN DOWN.