4.4 Southwest Louisiana Heat Burst of 19 April 2015

Tuesday, 12 January 2016: 4:15 PM
Room 338/339 ( New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center)
Benjamin J. Terry, KPLC TV, Lake Charles, LA; and J. R. Brazzell

A rare heat burst occurred in Southwest Louisiana on the evening of 19 April 2015. The heat burst resulted in a large area of winds of 39 to 48 knots with a peak wind gust of 65 knots recorded on top of the Magnolia building in downtown Lake Charles at the KPLC TV weather station. The ASOS at the Lake Charles Regional Airport (KLCH) recorded 44 knots before a power failure knocked out the instruments, and Chennault Field (CWF) recorded 47 knots. This was also a prolonged duration event with winds gusting in excess of 35 knots for almost two hours between 21:20 and 23:00 and just over ten minutes of winds greater than 50 knots between 22:41 and 22:53. This was part of a decaying severe thunderstorm complex that occurred over southeast Texas during the afternoon and early evening and was accompanied by a 10.8 C drop in the dew point temperature and a 3.8 C rise in the temperature. Many trees and power lines were downed across the city of Lake Charles, Louisiana. Mostly light damage was noted to some structures and dock damage to a city park. Some sections of the city were without power for three days.

The case study will analyze this rare event for an area with a marine climate by reviewing the synoptic and mesoscale conditions that lead up to the event, as well as the observed conditions at one minute resolution from the KPLC TV skycam weather station. We hope that this will provide for an early recognition for future events and more effective warning communications.

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