Gravity Wave in the NW Piedmont of NC this morning?


Rapidly falling pressures and anomalously strong winds are being observed in the far NW piedmont of NC this morning, suggesting the presence of a gravity wave.  The Mount Airy observation (KMWK) reported the following:

METAR KMWK 261355Z AUTO 07031G42KT 2SM RA SCT011 BKN032 OVC046 03/01 A2954
METAR KMWK 261335Z AUTO 07025G38KT 2SM -RA BKN009 BKN019 OVC034 03/01 A2967
METAR KMWK 261315Z AUTO 07023G31KT 2SM -SN OVC009 03/01 A2971
METAR KMWK 261255Z AUTO 09018G29KT 4SM -RA BKN009 BKN018 OVC038 03/01 A2977
METAR KMWK 261215Z AUTO 06015G30KT 3SM RA BKN009 OVC014 03/02 A2979

The advancing surface low itself cannot explain the magnitude of the pressure falls/winds at Mount Airy, and the synoptic pattern (second image attached) fits the conceptual model of an environment supportive of gravity waves.  Other nearby observations (KGSO, KBUY) reported rapidly falling pressures, however, it is difficult to tell whether or not the pressure falls at those locations were associated solely with the advancing synoptic low.



*Updated at 1455Z*

Further pressure falls and strengthening winds at KGSO suggest the presence of one or several gravity waves, with additional observations reporting rapidly falling or rising pressures.

METAR KGSO 261442Z 07022G31KT 1 3/4SM +RA BR OVC005 04/04 A2964 RMK AO2 PK WND
08031/1440 PRESFR P0021=
METAR KGSO 261411Z 06018G22KT 2SM +RA BR OVC005 04/04 A2972 RMK AO2 CIG 004V008
METAR KGSO 261354Z 06016KT 3SM RA BR OVC005 04/04 A2975 RMK AO2 PRESFR SLP075
P0012 T00440039=


About bvincentnws

Meteorologist National Weather Service 2003 - Current
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1 Response to Gravity Wave in the NW Piedmont of NC this morning?

  1. gerapetritis says:

    Brandon, I think you’re right about the gravity wave. The FFC 12Z RAOB had 100+ kt at 300 mb rounding the upstream trough axis, the target 500 mb inflection point to upstream ridge axis was a little transient but should have been in NW NC around 13Z, and the GSO sounding had an inversion up to 850 mb which would have been favorable for some ducting of energy in the surface layer. I wonder why the damaging easterly flow wasn’t more widespread? To get real ducting and amplification in the boundary layer, I guess I like to see more strongly stable lapse rates below the inversion top with more strongly positive lapse rates above it. That would perhaps have been more the case at KMWK farther into the surface stable layer and nearer the upper cool pool (compared to GSO).

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