Another round of severe weather swept across the area Saturday, September 8, 2012. Leading up to the event we knew heavy rain and wind were going to be the major concerns, but a couple critical pieces came together to bring this one home.
First of all, let me start out by saying I was away for this event. I felt so bad on two occasions this year. In late May I was on vacation when a tornado watch was posted for our area, we had a small confirmed tornado in the Northeast Kingdom, and widespread severe weather. Then I left town again and we had another tornado watch posted Saturday, then dozens and dozens of storm reports to read when I came back. I guess that's job security to keep me around, because now that I'm back the weather is a-okay!
Anyway when logging onto the homepage of Burlington's National Weather Service, I went to the storm report page and saw a lot of wind damage.
This was definitely a wind event. Leading up to it, I was wondering just how much sunshine we would get before the front would arrive. Many times if clouds roll in and limit ground temperatures, it can limit the instability in the atmosphere and limit thunderstorm potential. However if we get sun, heat the ground more, let the air mix a little more, then maybe allow the thunderstorms to grow taller and stronger. That happened on Saturday.
We had a low level jet with winds cranking at 40-60 miles per hour. The wind shear at the lower levels of the atmosphere was strong too. Combined with the instability we had a squall line form which was responsible for these damaging winds. If you click the link above you'll see all the reports from the Burlington viewing area in terms of damage.
Here's a link from YouTube showing the squall line pass through Charlotte, Vermont:
If you fast forward to the 1:00-2:00 time frame you can see the strongest winds. The Burlington International Airport reported a wind gust of 43 mph as the line passed through.
The link above shows the highest wind gusts observed Saturday. The highest gust on that list is 48 mph. However that's not to say the winds reached stronger in other areas as the line passed through.
There is no severe weather on the horizon through the weekend (September 15-16). Of course if anything pops up, we'll try our best to keep you informed of what to expect!
-Meteorologist Steve Glazier