Hurricane-force winds in Colorado, dust storms in Kansas, tornadoes in Iowa: here’s what fueled the extreme weather day | Weather

Along with the hot and humid air, we also had thunderstorms, and thunderstorms tend to make the winds even stronger. If you climbed 1000 feet in the sky you would find that it is a lot windier up there. When you have thunderstorms, the rain helps create a downdraft, which we call a downdraft. If you have this downdraft, it tends to carry very strong winds towards the ground. Thunderstorms in the conditions we were seeing could bring winds that could easily exceed 80 mph.

Colorado has seen wind gusts of over 100 mph. What happened there?

In Colorado, the mountains also help speed up the wind.

The winds must pick up over the Rocky Mountains. If you get a temperature inversion, where the temperature actually begins to rise rather than fall as you rise in the atmosphere just above the tops of the mountains, it can act as a cover that traps the momentum of the wind passing overhead. mountains. The wind can’t really spread, so instead it rushes down once you’re on the east side of the mountains.

With everything going down, gravity speeds it up, like dropping a ball from the top of a skyscraper. the the same happens to these winds. As they descend the east face of the Rockies, they accelerate.

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Joseph D. Whitman