June 10, 2011:

Thunderstorms rumble across the South Plains and Rolling Plains

After a very quiet start to the month of June, a bout of severe weather occurred across the South Plains and Rolling Plains on Friday, June 10, 2011. Scattered strong and severe thunderstorms developed just to the south of a cold front that streached across the region during the late afternoon and evening hours. The initial storms began to fire just to the south of the area across the northern Permain Basin and then began to drift northward and intensify as they entered Terry, Lynn, and Garza Counties. Though these thunderstorms did produce some small hail, the main threat with these storms were damaging straight-line winds. The mesonet at Brownfield recorded a thunderstorm wind gust of 61 mph and the Lubbock radar was estimating even higher wind speeds in excess of 70 mph as a very intense gust front pushed through Terry and northern Lynn Counties and into southern Lubbock County between 05:00-05:30 PM CDT. The gust front picked up soil matter from the surface to create a large wall of dust called a haboob. Thankfully, there was no widespread damage from this storm complex as it weakened moving into the city of Lubbock, though it did produce some gusty winds up to 45 mph and small hail. 

A reflectivity image from the Lubbock radar at 05:12 PM CDT, shows a complex of thunderstorms moving through northern Terry and Lynn Counties and approaching Lubbock County. This complex produced a large thunderstorm dust outflow (haboob) that later moved through the City of Lubbock. Click on the image for a larger version! A velocity image from the Lubbock radar at 05:12 PM CDT, shows a complex of thunderstorms moving through northern Terry and Lynn Counties and approaching southern Lubbock County. At this time, the radar was indicating thunderstorm outflow winds of 60-65 kts at around 1000 ft above the surface (denoted by the white oval). This complex produced a large thunderstorm dust outflow (haboob) that later moved through the City of Lubbock. Click on the image for a larger version!

 

A new complex of thunderstorms developed across Crosby and Dickens Counties and pushed eastward onto the Rolling Plains. These storms also produced strong outflow winds and blowing dust as they intensifed and approached the edge of the Caprock. As this complex of thunderstorms progressed across King and Cottle Counties, it produced some significant outflow wind damage from Dumont to Paducah. Winds between 70-80 mph caused damage to a house and a barn in Dumont and to a high school and its football stadium in Paducah. Additional thunderstorms began to fire along an outflow boundary that moved northward into Childress and Hall Counties, producing wind gusts in excess of 60-65 mph at Tell and Childress.

A reflectivity image from the Lubbock radar at 06:46 PM CDT, shows a complex of thunderstorms moving through northern King and southern Cottle Counties This storm produced 70 mph winds at Dumont, causing structural damage to a house, a barn, and some trees. Click on the image for a larger version! A reflectivity image from the Lubbock Radar at 07:07 PM CDT, shows a complex of thunderstorms moving through Cottle County This storm produced 70-80 mph winds in Paducah, causing structural damage to a high school, a football stadium press box, and some trees. Click on the image for a larger version!

Gust front and haboob from the thunderstorm complex that moved through Wolfforth around 5:15 PM CDT on June 10, 2011. Image courtesy of Eddie Wimberly and KCBD News 11. Click on the image for a larger version! Gust front and haboob from the thunderstorm complex that moved through White River Lake around 6:30 PM CDT on June 10, 2011. Image courtesy of Mark Condor. Click on the image for a larger version!
 

Precipitation

Scattered thunderstorms developed along a cold front across the central South Plains Friday evening and drifted northeast onto the Rolling Plains and southeastern Texas Panhandle. In Lubbock County rainfall totals varied greatly, ranging from a trace at the Lubbock Intl Airport to around half an inch in Woodrow. However just east of the city in Crosby County, a complex of thunderstorms dumped 0.64" at White River Lake and just over one inch of rain at Ralls. Off of the Caprock, rainfall totals were generally higher, particularly across portions of King, Dickens, Cottle, and Childress Counties where totals exceeded half an inch to an inch in several locations. The Paducah mesonet picked up 0.88", Tell received 1.00" and Dumont picked up the biggest total for our area at 1.40". Sadly, locations to the north and west of Lubbock generally missed out on the rainfall. Click on the image for a larger version!

 

Drought Impact

Though the thunderstorms did produce some much needed rainfall across the region, only a few areas received much in the way of appreciable precipitation mainly to the east of Lubbock across the Rolling Plains.  Currently, the entire South Plains region is under a D-4 (Exceptional) Drought. These drought conditions are extremely rare, with the probability of occurring on the order of every 50-100 years! With evapotranspiration rates on the order of 0.40 inches per day, the impact from Friday's rainfall is unfortunately fairly minimal in the long run. Even though portions of Lubbock did receive between a quarter to half an inch of rainfall, it will take much more widespread and continuous bouts of rainfall to make a palpable dent in the ongoing drought. Click on the image for a larger version!
 

For a complete list of storm damage reports from the June 10th event, please click here!


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