Intense Sub-Kilometer-Scale Boundary Layer Rolls Observed in Hurricane Fran

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Abstract

High-resolution observations obtained with the Doppler On Wheels (DOW) mobile weather radar near the point of landfall of hurricane Fran (1996) revealed the existence of intense, sub-kilometer-scale, boundary layer rolls that strongly modulated the near-surface wind speed. It is proposed that these structures are one cause of geographically varying surface damage patterns that have been observed after some landfalling hurricanes and that they cause much of the observed gustiness, bringing high-velocity air from aloft to the lowest observable levels. High-resolution DOW radar observations are contrasted with lower-resolution observations obtained with an operational weather radar, which underestimated peak low-level wind speeds.

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