Sunday, September 8, 2013

Gust Front

I was walking with some friends to the BYU vs Texa football game when my friend pointed to the sky and asked, "What is that?" I looked and responded calmly, "That is a thundercloud." Seconds later we were blown over by a strong gust front. If you haven't noticed yet by the color of the sky, a gust front is usually a good indicator that a big storm is headed your way. Below is a picture of a typical mature thunderstorm. The gust front is located at the front of the approaching storm.
From: http://www.cmos.ca/ProjectAtmosphere/module1_hazardous_weather_e.html
Everyone walking to Lavell Edwards Stadium for the BYU vs Texas football game experienced this very strong wind. Leaves were blowing off trees, we were being hit by pine cones, and I even saw the roofing shingles of an apartment building blow off the top in one piece. What a mess that made. Looking at the vector wind data from the weather station on BYU's campus, can you pick out the time the leading edge of the gust front passed through Provo? Yep, it was around 4:00 PM (16:00).

Here is a view of the storm from the stadium. A friend saving us seat took this picture right as the gust front was blowing.

Picture by A. Reed

As the gust front blew I mentioned to my friend, "Oh, and it'll start raining really hard in the next five minutes." Sure enough, the rain down poured. We ran to the nearest building, a Jamba Juice, for shelter. The rain rained for a long time.   Anxious to get to the football game, the Jamba Juice workers kindly gave us some trash bags. We cut face holes in the bottom and wore them like wedding veils.

Making out way towards the stadium it seemed the game was already over. Everyone dripping wet, and walking back to their cars and apartments. The game was delayed for lightning.

Provo measured 0.76 inches of rain during this period. Doesn't sound like a ton, but considering the short time it caused some minor flooding. The storm drains couldn't handle that much water in that short a period.

Eventually we the rain stopped and people filled the stadium. BYU played very well and pulled out with a win against the Texas Longhorns: 40-21.
Below is the ESPN time-lapse video of rainstorm that caused a two-hour rain delay.

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