Pat Shingleton: "Other Floods and Heatbursts..."
With a delay designated for the Morganza Spillway opening another flooding item of possible interest...On May 31, 1889, heavy rains brought the Little Conemaugh River in Pennsylvania to bank full. The force of the river blasted through the South Fork Dam and funneled a wall of water 40 feet high at 22 feet per second into Johnstown, killing 2,100 people, leveling trees, houses and buildings in its path. Venice, Italy, is called the world's most serene city. Because of flooding, ancient buildings were dissolving and in 2003 they launched "Project Moses." Three inlets to the lagoon that surround Venice are now fitted with sixty foot, hollow steel gates. The gates lie flat on the sea floor and when high tide threatens, the gates will rise on hinges and block the flood. From flooding to heat and a "bye-bye" to May. From the mid-west to the Ohio Valley, it’s the season for “heat-bursts,” that create 100 M.P.H. blasts of hot air. In Portugal on July 6, 1949 meteorological observers reported a temperature increase from 100 to 158 degrees F in two minutes. In the early evening of June 15, 1960 at Lake Whitney, Texas, the temperature rose to 140 degrees F in a few minutes with winds of 80 to 100 miles per hour. A nearby cotton field was completely scorched and car radiators boiled over. A heat burst traditionally forms after sunset as warm, moist air that feeds a thunderstorm cuts off and the storm collapses. The rain in the top of the thunderhead drops into cool, dry air becomes compressed and hits the ground as a hot dry wind. What makes the heat burst so unusual is the high rate of speed at which the down draft travels.
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