From Mike Smith @ Meteorological Musings
A central Oklahoma microburst descends from the parent cloud to the ground. Photo from National Severe Storms Lab
At 6:46pm yesterday (Sunday) evening, a strong microburst (likely strong enough to bring down a commercial airliner, had it been at the end of a runway) occurred in northwest Wichita a few miles northeast of Mid-Continent Airport. Since these are fairly rare, I thought it might be of interest to view the microburst in several different ways:
First, here it is in the radar reflectivity data (the type you usually see on TV weathercasts). The center of the microburst is near the deepest red pixel. The time is 6:45pm.
A second view of the microburst comes from the Wichita Terminal Doppler Weather Radar (TDWR), an instrument designed specifically to detect microbursts, installed in the wake of Delta 191 and the series of downburst-related crashes in the 70’s and 80’s. Compare the location of “Wichita” on the two radar images and the freeway (Interstate 235, not labeled, but wraps around the west side of the city) on both maps to orient yourself.
This radar senses the wind in great detail. The radar at 6:46pm is showing a 46 knot (53 mph, deep brown pixel) wind blowing toward the north on the north side of the microburst and a winds blowing toward the south at 39 mph (light green) on the south side of the microburst. This represents 92 mph of wind shear, likely enough to bring down an aircraft!
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Also, for anyone wanting to track storms on radar in near real time, inexpensively on your PC, with no data fees, I have an app for that, StormPredator. – Anthony