On 23/12/2009, windstorm Xola struck mainland Portugal, causing serious damage in a small area north of Lisbon (Oeste region) and in the south region, inflicting economic losses of over EUR 100 million. In both areas, several power towers, designed to withstand up to 46 m s−1
winds, were destroyed. The causes of these two distinct damaging wind events were investigated. Xola was revealed to have a prominent cloud head and a split cold front structure. In the southern region, the damages were due to downburst winds, associated with a mesovortex, observed in a bow echo line triggered by an upper cold front. The cloud head presented several dry air intrusion signatures, co-located with tops progressively lowering towards the hooked tip. This tip revealed features consistent with the presence of slantwise convection, the descending branches of which may have been strengthened by evaporating cooling. At the reflectivity cloud head tip, a jet streak pattern was identified on weather radar, with Doppler velocities exceeding 55 m s−1
, just 400 m above ground. This signature is coherent with the presence of a Sting jet, and this phenomenon was associated with the strongest wind gusts (over 40 m s−1
) and the largest damages in the Oeste region.
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