Thermodynamic Storms Prowl the Region
A quick update to spotlight the dazzling field of cumulonimbus mammatus clouds that have crossed the skies this Wednesday evening. These "pouch"-like, upside down bumpy clouds are never to be taken lightly. They are a sign of extreme turbulence in the heavens and are often associated with hail storms and tornadoes.
Thanks to Bob Nolan for the neat e-pix!
Wednesday afternoon thunderstorms packed a “thermodynamic” punch as they roared through the region. After a sizzling day of steamy sunshine, thunderheads billowed heavenward and broke the sizzling heat with a bang.
Here’s why I use the term “thermodynamic” to describe these storms. The term thermodynamic is from the Greek. The prefix “thermo” means heat and the root “dynamic” refers to energy. When the air gets super-heated as it did today (96 Huntington for the hottest day of the summer), there is plenty of heat energy available for thunderstorms.
That heat energy gave a signal of its might this morning when a band of active thunderstorms moved from Vinton and Athens Ohio southeastward along I-77 into the Kanawha Valley.
Localized high water and lightning strikes greeted early risers in Putnam and Kanawha Counties.
After being worked over by the morning action, the atmosphere reloaded in the steamy sun environment of afternoon. High school football practices had to be scaled back as the heat index (combination of heat and humidity) topped 100 degrees. Cumulus clouds formed, billowed, and then turned dark and foreboding in response to the simmering heat.
Dispatchers in Grayson Kentucky tell me many trees were felled by an apparent microburst (prefix micro means small scale and root burst refers to wind gust). We have pictures of a roof ripped off a business and signs blown off roads for our MY Z 10 and 11pm shows.
Other reports include street flooding on I-64 in Charleston, numerous down trees and spotty power outs in Boone County and some shaken nerves for kids who were caught outside in the sudden storm that followed those dramatic skies.