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Department of Atmospheric Science

Thurs., Oct. 26, 3:10 pm, EN6085

Pine Bluffs Wyoming Hybrid Severe Storm July 27, 2016

Robert E. Cox

NOAA/NWS, Cheyenne, Wyoming


A significant and complex severe storm roared through Pine Bluffs Wyoming during the late afternoon of July 27, 2016.  This storm produced golf ball size hail driven by straight-line winds estimated as high as 90 mph.  This caused catastrophic damage to homes, businesses and vehicles. Many trees were uprooted and utility poles toppled. Besides the severe hail and wind, torrential rainfall flooded many intersections and roads in town.  Approximately 500 homes were damaged in Pine Bluffs, a population of 1100.  We are going to examine several characteristics of this storm and discuss why this storm was so unique.  This includes looking at several Dual-Pol signatures, thermodynamic/shear parameters, and various boundaries that may have aided a rapid intensification of this storm.  The use of the Colorado Lightning Mapping Array (COLMA) data also detected a significant lightning jump minutes prior to the storm moving into Pine Bluffs.   
From a decision support perspective, we were utilizing various methods in communicating the threats. The storm struck Pine Bluffs during the Cheyenne Frontier Days, which enabled us to utilize more tools and extra staffing since we were providing additional decision support to the Laramie County Emergency Management. Resources like Google Hangouts and other social media platforms were used.  Overall, this storm was handled well from a warning perspective, but we will be examining its unique characteristics compared to other surrounding storms that afternoon. 

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