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This morning’s storms were a squall line. What’s that?

Near Hurricane Force Winds This Morning

Beasley This Morning
Beasley This Morning

HOUSTON – This morning’s storms rolled in and out defined as a Squall Line, strong winds that last minutes rather than seconds, as opposed to a wind “gust.”

These winds form as cold air from up top that then sink rapidly, forcing air ahead of the line upward. That is called “lift” and it can be very fast and intense. So when the air lifts quickly, what will replace it? More fast rushing air at the surface!

Imagine dropping a boulder into your swimming pool versus a small rock. The displaced water will be replaced quickly with rushing water to “fill in” just like the rushing air fills in the void. This pressure gradient, or difference in pressure, is steep and so the wind is fierce.

I’ve circled on this image where the strong winds occur:

Courtesy Penn State
Courtesy Penn State

Here is what it looked like on Exact Track Radar this morning stretching from Austin to Houston to Baton Rouge:

Squall Line on Radar
Squall Line on Radar

Look at some of these top winds recorded by the National Weather Service, near Hurricane Force (74mph) in Galveston!

Winds This morning
Winds This morning

At least one death has been recorded after a tree fell into a home in Huntsville and numerous injuries were likely. Fallen trees and fences are easy to find:

Fence Down
Fence Down
Tree Down
Tree Down

Fortunately, that is all for this squall and we return to quiet weather today. In fact, as May arrives this weekend, so does a taste of summer!

Stay safe and wash those hands!

Frank

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