Burlington Colorado Airport Wind Event

June 28, 2011 Reflectivity
June 28, 2011 Velocity 

June 28, 2011 Burlington Colorado Airport Downburst

A small cluster of thunderstorms moved east across Cheyenne and Kit Carson counties in Colorado during the evening of June 28th.  The storms began to lose intensity after 800 pm MDT, and by 915 pm MDT, Doppler radar showed all storms had dissipated.  The storm over Kit Carson county south of Stratton ended up collapsing violently.  A strong surge of outflow winds raced east and northeast out of the storm, producing significant damage at Kit Carson County airport, about 4 miles south of Burlington.

The automated weather station at the airport (ASOS-Automated Surface Observing System) recorded a wind gust of 73 knots (84 mph) from the west at 835 pm MDT.  The two main airport hangars were oriented NNW-SSE and took the brunt of the wind along their long, west facing walls.

In addition to destroying the hangars themselves, multiple aircraft housed inside the hangars suffered significant damage.  Fortunately, no injuries or fatalities occurred.

One reason for the strong thunderstorm outflow was the presence of dry air in the lower portion of the atmosphere.  When a storm produces precipitation which falls into dry air, evaporation occurs which suddenly cools the air, which becomes more dense and aids in its rapid descent to the ground.  In addition, when a storm collapses, it can also channel strong winds from higher altitudes down to the surface. 

Radar Imagery

Reflectivity June 28,
            2011 Reflectivity

 

Velocity June 28, 2011
            Velocity

 

 Damage Photos

 



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