Spring often signifies sunshine and warmer temperatures, but it can also spark damaging thunderstorms. One such type of severe weather phenomenon is known as a squall line.
While tornadoes are known for their power and the damage they cause, squall lines can also be dangerous and deadly. Squall lines occur when intense thunderstorms organize into a solid line. Along the leading edge of the storms, winds can be quite destructive, sometimes topping 60, 70 and even 80 mph.
When the line begins to bend out forming a backwards C, damaging winds can become even stronger, often leading to power outages. This bowing out of the squall line is often termed a bow echo, due to its resemblance to a bow and arrow.
So why are there more squall lines in the spring and early summer months? Well as April turns into May, several key ingredients needed for the formation of this type of severe weather come together.
Much like what is seen over Tornado Alley, warm, moist air rides north from the Gulf of Mexico, while cooler, drier air rushes down from the north.
Strong jet stream dynamics and higher winds in the atmosphere are the final pieces of the puzzle.
While most tornadoes tear across the infamous Tornado Alley into June, squall lines have less of a definitive area they are restricted to. Squall lines have been observed nearly every month of the year and have been witnessed over the majority of the states in the U.S.
Why can different types of precipitation be seen on Earth while temperatures remain constant?
Dangerous flash flooding is captured as an arroyo becomes filled with water in Carson Valley, Nevada.
The RealFeel Temperature uses an equation to determine how it actually feels outside.
Knowing what the different advisories, watches, and warnings mean will lead to more informed decision making when a winter storm threatens a particular area.
How can you determine if and when the ice is thick enough for safely going out on?
Seeking shelter in the event of a tornado could save your life, but is there really any safe place to hide?
Driving on a 90-degree angle away from the tornado is a good strategy to follow in order to distance yourself from the tornado.
Supercell thunderstorms have been responsible for major tornadoes that have demolished parts of the U.S.
After a cold, clear winter night without much wind, the ground and nearby tree branches may be covered by tiny, white ice crystals.
A major cause of post-snow flooding are ice jams in waterways.
East Coast (1775)
Matecumbe Key, FL (1935)
Labor Day Hurricane hit Florida. Pressure at Matecumbe Key dipped to 26.35"/892.3 mb. Most intense hurricane ever to hit the U.S. with 200-mph wind. Tide of 15 feet; 408 dead.
Mecca, CA (1950)
126 degrees - highest ever for U.S. in Sept.