Friday, August 24, 2007

Tropical Storm? In OKLAHOMA??

Sunday was an amazing night. We had a tropical storm develop over the sooner state.

Erin moved up through Texas as a rain storm and reformed over Oklahoma. It was much less intense than it would have been over the ocean, none the less, it flooded the western half of the state and did some pretty serious damage.

Tropical Storm Erin is the second tropical cyclone to make landfall on the United States in the 2007 Atlantic hurricane season. The fifth named storm of the season, it formed in the Gulf of Mexico on August 14 from a persistent area of convection. It attained tropical storm status the next day, and on August 16 Erin made landfall near Lamar, Texas and persisted over land across Texas before moving northward into Oklahoma.

Early on August 19 after entering Oklahoma, Erin suddenly re-intensified to reach winds of 35 mph (55 km/h) a short distance west of Oklahoma City.[15] The Norman, Oklahoma National Weather Service remarked the intensification "[resulted] in what amounts to an inland tropical storm;"[16] at 0930 UTC the system presented an eye-like feature and a spiral rainband, and produced wind gusts of over 80 mph (130 km/h).[17] However, a few hours later, the depression began weakening again,[15] and late on August 19 Erin degenerated into a remnant low pressure area as the circulation dissipated over northeastern Oklahoma.

Then, if that wasn't enough weirdness for one evening, we had the storm produced gigantic lightening like jets above the clouds.

Space Weather News for August 23, 2007>>>>>>

On Aug. 20th, an amateur astronomer in Oklahoma scanned the sky for meteors using a low-light video camera--but instead of meteors, he recorded a bizarre upside-down form of lightning called "Gigantic Jets."

Discovered in 2001, Gigantic Jets are enormous discharges that leap upward 50 miles high from the tops of thunderclouds. They are related to better known sprites and elves, but are larger and more dramatic. The Oklahoma Jets are the first ever photographed over the continental United States and they may provide key data to researchers working to understand the phenomenon.

GIGANTIC JETS: Think of them as sprites on steroids: Gigantic Jets are lightning-like discharges that spring from the top of thunderstorms, reaching all the way from the thunderhead to the ionosphere 50+ miles overhead. They're enormous and powerful.

"Gigantic Jets are very rare," explains atmospheric scientist and Jet-expert Oscar van der Velde of the Université Paul Sabatier's Laboratoire d'Aérologie in Toulouse, France. "The first one was discovered in 2001 by Dr. Victor Pasko in Puerto Rico. Since then fewer than 30 jets have been recorded--mostly over open ocean and on only two occasions over land." That's why researchers are excited by the events of Aug. 20th. On that night, amateur astronomer Richard Smedley of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, was hunting for meteors using a low light video camera when he caught two Gigantic Jets instead. "They were much brighter than a typical meteor--more like a fireball," says Smedley.

To appreciate the size of these things, consider the following: "They came from a thunderstorm more than 100 miles away." This means the Jets were about 48 miles tall measured upward from the top of the thundercloud. Because they connect thunderstorms directly to the ionosphere, Gigantic Jets play some role in the global flow of electricity around our planet, but how big is that role? "No one knows," says van der Velde. "This is cutting-edge research and these photos from Oklahoma provide an exciting new case-study."

Only in Oklahoma.


Blogger Michele said...

This is SO COOL !!!!!
I love fascinating phenomena and this qualifies. Ididn't hear anything about this in the news our way.

Thanks for posting!!!

11:52 AM CDT  

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