Monday, February 11, 2008

Storms and freezing temps?

I'm sure you're scratching your head wondering how we've had two thunderstorm episodes in the last week with wintertime temperatures. While this morning's activity occurred with surface temperatures in the 20's, the temperatures aloft (a few thousand feet above the ground-in the red color on the above graphic) were roughly between 45-50 degrees. That doesn't seem so warm or humid but when you combine the transport of even a small amount of unstable air along with strong lift in the atmosphere, you can get thunderstorms in that warmer layer of air. These storms produced a combination of small hail, sleet and freezing rain over Wichita, making it a crunchy drive into work today.


Anonymous said...

The last episode of thunder snow, we had the ground covered up to more than a inch of 1/2 inch hail with some 3/4 inch stones in the mix. It seems that more lift would be needed to create that size and amount of hail than would be available in the statistics stated.

john_w Douglass ks.

Rodney Price said...


Yes, there was a great deal of lift going on last Monday morning. I didn't place a number on it, which really wasn't important for this discussion. What I was conveying was the presense of thunderstorms when it was so cold outside and why it happened.