A Mesonet-Based Climatology Of Severe Convective Winds in West Texas


  • William Scott Gunter University of Louisville
  • Quint M. Long University of Louisville




Severe Storms, Wind Gust, Mesonet, Climatology, In-situ observations


Multiple studies have investigated the occurrence of severe convective winds and have increased our understanding of the forces driving severe winds and their spatial and temporal patterns. Some of the data used in studies have come from airport stations maintained by the National Weather Service. Their standardization across the United States makes them ideal for research, but they are limited in their distribution. This study aims to create a climatology of severe convective winds in West Texas using a mesoscale network (“mesonet”). Like their ASOS (Automated Surface Observing System) counterparts, these stations are standardized and well maintained. This study provides a 15-year climatology of severe convective wind gusts measured by the West Texas Mesonet (WTM). After extracting and manually verifying the measured gusts from over 30 WTM stations, both spatial and temporal distributions are presented. While temporal patterns in the gust distribution generally matched previous research, the high spatial resolution of the mesonet elucidated differences across a regional escarpment known as the Caprock. Comparison with regional AWOS / ASOS stations also revealed potential effects of a larger urban area. In addition to gust data, thermodynamic characteristics and rainfall accumulations associated with each gust were also investigated. In doing so, a substantial contribution from dry thunderstorm outflow winds and heat bursts to the production of regional severe wind was documented.