June 23, 2012: Severe Winds From "Wake Low" Event

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June 23, 2012

Wake Low: Damaging Winds and
  Moderate Rainfall

To the right is a National Weather Service Radar loop, valid from 9:45 p.m
on Friday, June 22th through 5:00 a.m. on Saturday, June 23th.

The NWS Hastings coverage area is located within the orange outlined area, with the Interstate highways in red.

(Click Radar Loop To Enlarge)



Event Summary:

During the early morning hours of June 23rd, folks in central parts of Nebraska experienced a line of thunderstorms which pushed eastward across the state. This line of thunderstorms, or sometimes referred to as a "squall line", was associated with a mesohigh-wake low couplet which produced strong winds across parts of the NWS Hastings coverage area. Simply put, wind speed is directly associated with pressure differences. Air is accelerated from areas of high pressure to areas of low pressure; as a result, we have what is commonly referred to as "wind". Mesohigh-wake low couplets are commonly referred to as "wake lows". There are many dynamic and thermodynamic variables in play during wake low events which make them very difficult to predict. The mesohigh tends to form along the leading edge of the squall line where a convective line exist. On the other hand, we have a wake low which tends to form on the trailing end of a squall line, where stratiform precipitation is occurring. These pressure differences over a relatively small distance result in strong wind speeds. A detailed scientific paper from the American Meteorological Society on "The Linear Dynamics of Squall Line Mesohighs and Wake Lows" by authors, Patrick T. Haertel and Richard H. Johnson, can be found here.

Some of the notable severe weather reports from this event:

  • Fireworks tent and a trailer blown about by the strong wind speeds. One minor injury was reported
  • Roofs and Pivots received considerable damage. Older outbuildings were completely destroyed
  • 66 MPH non-thunderstorm wind gust measured at the Grand Island airport
  • 59 MPH non-thunderstorm wind gust measured at the Holdrege airport
  • 58 MPH non-thunderstorm wind gust measured at the Lexington airport
  • 55 MPH non-thunderstorm wind gust measured at the Hastings airport

Storm Reports from
June 23, 2012

June 23, 2012 storm reports.
Click image for detailed reports


Below is a precipitation map which depicts rainfall amounts across south central Nebraska and north central Kansas.




Front yard in Hastings downed tree in Sutton Hail in Hastings
Hail covering the ground in Hastings, NE.  A tree snapped by severe wind in Sutton, NE.  Nearly quarter sized hail in Hastings, NE.



This page was composed by the staff at the National Weather Service in Hastings, Nebraska.


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