Texas Drought Blamed For Extraordinary Wind Storm
Earlier this week, an incredible wind storm affected the southeastern U.S. and some electric providers are saying it’s one of the worst in terms of power outages in years. In addition, the Storm Prediction Center received a whopping 1,245 wind damage reports in a 24-hour period.
Why were there so many wind reports with this particular system? Dry air aloft was the main culprit and if you’ve been an avid reader of YourWeatherBlog you’ve probably read my post about the ongoing drought across Texas. Widespread drought conditions continue across Texas and northwestward into New Mexico, Arizona and eastern Colorado.
Now here’s why it happened. Very dry air at the surface and aloft over the Southern Plains lifted quickly to the northeast earlier this week underneath an advancing storm system resulting in widespread reports of downburst winds over the Southeast.
Here is the 700 millibar RH (relative humidity) map over the southern U.S. this past Sunday, which was the day before the event. Notice the areas in yellow across the Southern Plains which indicate the very dry air over the area.
Here’s the 500 millibar chart that looks at the wind pattern for Monday morning.
According to StormWatch Manager Fred Schmude, we could see a similar pattern set up again soon as the south central states remain dry. This is an area we’ll keep a close eye on over the weekend into early next week.