I knew today was going to be a fun one when I saw storms moving out of Northwestern Oklahoma and moving toward OKC. Rain is a good thing! But, sometimes you experience a rare weather phenomana that you don’t realize is happening until you’re midway through the event and realize something doesn’t look right. What am I talking about? Check out the pic below:
Most often, we scoff at a 92 degree temperature here in Oklahoma. But, in this case, check out the timestamp. 92 degrees at 6:44am! Even more impressive, is that it was 71 degrees about 45 mins. before! So, how did this happen? It was a HEAT BURST! Heat bursts are a rare weather phenomenon that is characterized by an increase in winds ( 49 mph), a rapid increase in temperatures ( 71° to 92°) and a sudden drop in dew point temperatures. Our weather station here wasn’t recording dew points at the time, so I had to grab a meteogram from North OKC.
Notice the top graph that is showing temperatures and dew points ( the green and brown colors). Notice how the green line drops as the brown line sores. That would be the dew point dropping helping to prove that it was indeed a heat burst. So, how do we forecast heat bursts and how do we know what they look like? Seeing a heat burst on radar is quite difficult because it simply looks like a light rain shower. The only way we know for certain that a heat burst is occuring is to have a weather station right underneith or nearby. Fortunately, we had one here at the station.
Other notable heat bursts in Oklahoma have been documented as far back as 1909 when in Cherokee a heat burst caused temperatures to reach 130° at 3:00am desiccating crops in the area. In 1996, a heat burst allowed temperatures to go from 87 to 101 in 15 mins in Chickasha with a wind gust of 95 mph. And earlier this month in Wichita, a heat burst allowed temperatures to go from 85 to 102 from 12:22am to 12:42am.