Radar of the Oct 14th Wet Microburst Storms (and some post storm photos)



12:48 PM – An area of light to moderate rain remained quasi-stationary just to the west and north of Lawrence for a considerable length of time Saturday.  This allowed temperatures to warm to about 80, helping destabilize the atmosphere.  The storms that pounded Lawrence are just starting to develop north of Wichita.


Surface plots for 1 PM.


The 2 PM radar image shows storms developing over the radar site and nearing west Topeka, with the area of lighter rain showers west and north of Lawrence, with even a few showers on the east side of town.  There were only a few drops big drops where I was, at 33rd and Iowa.


2 PM surface plots.  A thunderstorm at Topeka.


At 3 PM some storms are moving through Topeka and developing along a line to the southwest.


3 PM surface shows a T-storm with heavy rain in Topeka.  At LWC the temperature has spiked to 80, the dew point is 71, humidity 74 percent and the wind ESE at 13 MPH.  My personal weather station has spiked up to 81 degrees at this time.  This quick shot of extra heat probably helped the instability and rapid intensification of the storms that were moving into the area.


At 3:48 PM the storms have grown and are starting to move into west and northern sections of town.  South and east sections remained dry for a while yet.


Six minutes later at 3:53 PM.. a storm intensifies over west and north Lawrence.


4 PM surface plot.  At the hourly observation time (3:52 PM) the Lawrence Airport reports a thunderstorm with light rain and 0.01 inches so far,  a temp of 75, dew point of 72, humidity of 90 percent and a north wind at 6 MPH.


3:59 PM – Very heavy rain is moving across town now, but the southeast portion of town, including downtown, awaits the first deluge.


Radar image at 4:04 PM. The storm over Lawrence is shaped kind of like a donkey, now.  The automated equipment at LWC put out a special observation at this time (4:04 PM), as the visibility at the airport is 1 3/4 mile in heavy rain and thunder.  Winds are WNW at 16 MPH and 0.12 inches has been measured to this time at the airport. The temperature and dew point are both 73.  The southeast side of town and the downtown area still await the downpour, though it is now imminent.  Up to 4:02 PM, my personal weather station (near Clinton and Inverness) had measured 0.06 inches.


At 4:10 PM, the first surge pushes on across the north side and east side of town.  A secondary line approaches from the west.  The airport equipment put out another automated special report at 4:10 PM, as well, and now reports a visibility of 3/4 mile in heavy rain and thunder.  Winds are WNW at 23 gusting to 28 MPH and 0.37 inches has fallen at the airport to this point.  My personal weather station in southwest Lawrence has reported 0.18 inches up to 4:12 PM, but this is only 0.01 more than the previous report at 4:07 PM.  So the first blob mostly missed to the north of southwestern Lawrence.  But more is developing and poised to move in as the ‘rear legs’ approach in what now somewhat resembles a leaping donkey.


At 4:15 PM, the first blob moves up through Tonganoxie as the next line moves in.  The Lawrence Airport equipment generated its last observation at 4:13 PM, again for visibility criteria,  before going kaput for the duration of the event and not to revive until 11:45 PM.  At 4:13 PM, the visibility at the Lawrence Airport is now 1/2 mile in heavy rain and thunder.  The winds are west at 14 gusting 28 MPH.  Storm precipitation is now 0.50 inches, all but 0.01 inches of which has fallen since the last hourly observation at 3:52 PM, or 0.49 inches in 21 minutes.   However, the lowering visibility shows that the rain is getting more intense right up to the last observation.  I am guessing that lightning knocked out the equipment.  At 4:17 PM my personal weather station  is up to 0.23 inches for the storm.


At 4:20 PM I believe we are seeing a ‘wet downburst’ event.  It is occurring in the dark red narrow swath that approaches the ‘+’ marking the Lawrence Airport, and extends almost due south right along Iowa Street.  We don’t know what the Lawrence Airport is getting because the automated equipment there is dead, and dead equipment does not report.  My personal weather station was up to 0.37 inches for the storm up to 4:22 PM, and a rainfall rate of 1.13 inches per hour.


At 4:26 PM, the wet microburst echo is now only just east of the Lawrence airport, extending south, with another similar but new, narrow north-south band having replaced the first on Iowa Street.  This could possibly be another wet micro burst zone.  Southwest Lawrence is getting hit by yet another cell, with my personal weather station up to 0.58 inches at 4:27 PM, a rainfall rate of 2.13 inches per hour, the maximum rate I recorded at my residence for the event.


At 4:33 PM the heavy weather is mainly on the south and east side.  At 4:32 PM my personal weather station is up to 70 hundredths for the storm, with a rainfall rate of 1.91 inches per hour.



At 4:39 PM the southwest to northeast parts of town are still in it.  At 4:37 PM my personal weather station is up to 0.75 inches for the storm which started at 3:52 PM, so call it 0.75 inches measured in 45 minutes.  The rate at this time shows 0.99 inches per hour.  Another intense storm is along the actual cold front, approaching Manhattan.


At 4:44 PM south and east sections of town are still in it, but with a break in the rain approaching.  At 4:42 PM my weather station is up to 0.79 inches for the storm, in 50 minutes time.  Not bad.  That was then all until light showers seen west of the break started in after 5 PM.


At 4:50 PM the break moves over Lawrence with very heavy storms just to the east of town and moving on into the northland of KC.


Surface plots for 5 PM show thunderstorms at KCI, Manhattan and Emporia.  The cold front extends from east of Marysville to east of Salina to east and south of Great Bend and Dodge City, as seen by the northwest winds pushing in behind it.


At 5 PM an area of light to moderate rain with some embedded thunder approaches Lawrence from the west.  Manhattan got hit pretty good with 0.54 inches at the airport with that mean looking cell out there.  The north and west sides of the KC Metro are getting hit at this time.


At 7 PM the cold front is past St Joseph, Topeka and Emporia but not quite into Lawrence yet.


The concurrent 7 PM radar.  The storms formed along a surface trough ahead of the actual cold front.


At 8 PM, the cold front is past KCI and pushing slowly into Lawrence, finally.


8 PM radar image shows showers and thundershowers re-energizing as they move into the Lawrence area with the cold front.   I received another 0.15 inches from these showers.  This was followed by some gusty northwest winds.


By midnight, the front has moved well into Missouri and across the Texas panhandle which has some blowing dirt from one location (dollar sign).  At 11:45 PM, the Lawrence Airport came back up.  The NWS electronics tech must have been sent out from Topeka to fix it.  The strongest post frontal wind was then reported on the midnight hourly, 15 minutes after it came back up, with a gust to 38 MPH.



Look at the shelf cloud rolling in from the north at 6:24 PM.  Probably some cool, moist outflow from earlier storms.  It did not have much effect on the surface as it rolled overhead.


At 6:28 PM it is rolling right along.


At 6:31 PM, it’s here!


At 6:33 PM it moved past to little surface effect, but revealing some new showers approaching from the west associated with the incoming surface front and upper trough.


Looks like a pretty decent shower out there to the distant west.


And even a bit of sun glow left in the sky on some lingering build-ups.

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