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In meteorology, a heat burst is a rare atmospheric phenomenon characterised by gusty winds and a rapid increase in temperature and decrease in dew point (moisture). Heat bursts typically occur during night-time and are associated with decaying thunderstorms.

Although this phenomenon is not fully understood, it is theorized that the event is caused when rain evaporates (virga) into a parcel of cold dry air high in the atmosphere making the air denser than its surroundings. The parcel descends rapidly, warming due to compression, overshoots its equilibrium level and reaches the surface, similar to a downburst.

Recorded temperatures during heat bursts have reached well above , sometimes rising by 20 °F (11 °C) or more within only a few minutes. More extreme events have also been documented, where temperatures have been reported to exceed , although such extreme events have never been officially verified. Heat bursts are also characterised by extremely dry air and are sometimes associated with very strong, even damaging, winds.

Some documented cases

See also


  1. Heat Burst in Buenos Aires
  2. Heat Burst Hits Cedar Rapids
  3. Rare Convective Heat Burst in Oklahoma
  4. Heat Burst Strikes Salisbury, MD Saturday Night
  5. Convective Heat Burst moves across Sioux Falls
  6. NTV - KHGI/KWNB/WSWS-CA - Where your news comes first. - Grand Island, Kearney, Hastings, Lincoln | Cozad Witnesses Rare Weather
  8. Midland Heat Burst - Damage Survey
  9. History : Weather Underground
  10. Heat Bursts Occur Across South-Central Nebraska Early Tuesday Morning, June 20th.
  11. 03 June 2002 - Amarillo, Texas Heat Burst
  12. Freaks of the Storm, Randy Cerveny 2006, ISBN 1-56025-801-2
  13. Isaac M. Cline, Climatological Data for July, 1909: District No. 7. Lower Mississippi Valley, p 337-338; Monthly Weather Review July 1909

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