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Damaging Convective and Non-Convective Winds in Southwestern Iberia during Windstorm Xola

by Paulo Pinto 1,† and Margarida Belo-Pereira 1,2,*,†
1
Meteorology and Geophysics Department, Portuguese Institute for Sea and Atmosphere (IPMA), IPMA, Rua C do Aeroporto, 1749-077 Lisboa, Portugal
2
Center for the Research and Technology of Agro-Environmental and Biological Sciences (CITAB), University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro, 5001-801 Vila Real, Portugal
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Atmosphere 2020, 11(7), 692; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11070692
Received: 30 May 2020 / Revised: 23 June 2020 / Accepted: 26 June 2020 / Published: 30 June 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Severe Storm)
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. View Full-Text
Keywords: windstorm; cloud head; sting jet; bow echo; mesovortex; split cold front; radar windstorm; cloud head; sting jet; bow echo; mesovortex; split cold front; radar
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MDPI and ACS Style

Pinto, P.; Belo-Pereira, M. Damaging Convective and Non-Convective Winds in Southwestern Iberia during Windstorm Xola. Atmosphere 2020, 11, 692.

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