Heat burst impacts central Kansas

WICHITA, Kansas – A heat burst impacted areas of central Kansas late Tuesday and early Wednesday according to the National Weather Service.

Locations from Hays to Salina recorded the heat burst on their automated weather equipment.

Other locations that recorded the heat burst included Russell and Ellsworth.

Temperatures across the area rose 5 to 15 degrees as a result of the heat burst and winds gusted to 40-50 mph.

At Ellsworth, 5-minute observations were available that show the heat below.



Details from various central Kansas locations


Peak Temperature Peak Wind
Hays 99 61 mph
Russell 94 58 mph
Ellsworth 97 57 mph
Salina 96 43 mph


A heat burst is caused by a dissipating thunderstorm or shower.

Second, the mid-level atmospheric environment must be hot and dry, combined with a shallow surface inversion.

Thunderstorms develop when moist, unstable air is given a nudge upward. Moisture in the cloud condenses and later falls as precipitation.

Once the thunderstorm loses its updraft, the thunderstorm is said to be downdraft dominated.

When this occurs with a hot and dry atmospheric mid-level in place, the moisture associated with the downdraft evaporates and initially cools this layer, increasing its rate of descent toward the surface.

However, the descending air will stop cooling once all the moisture has evaporated, therefore causing adiabatic (compressional) warming and mixing of the warm(inversion) layer. The heat burst will occur once the warm and dry air descends to the surface.

All About Heat Bursts

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