Commentary

June 28, 2013

Stay prepared for unexpected weather

William Richardson
99th Civil Engineer Squadron

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — I just got home after a long day of work Sept. 8, 2011, when the phone rang. It was Senior Master Sgt. Lee Smith, the 99th Civil Engineer Squadron Emergency Management superintendent. He said I needed to return to base, the base had been hit by a microburst causing a base-wide power outage.

I have been the Nellis AFB emergency manager since February, 2004, and I have never witnessed anything like a microburst.

A microburst occurred at approximately 4:48 p.m. which affected several facilities, aircraft revetment and the substation which provides power to the entire base. As a direct result of the substation failure, commercial power to the entire installation was temporarily lost with some areas experiencing extended power loss.

The aircraft revetment located on the southeast side of the flightline sustained catastrophic structural failure, and it collapsed on 11 F-16 Fighting Falcons and two A-10 Thunderbolts resulting in one F-16 sustaining a fuel leak. Eight military members received minor injuries and were treated at the Mike O’Callaghan Federal Medical Center and later released.

So what is a microburst? According to Dan Berc, from the National Weather Service Las Vegas Office, it is a strong, localized downburst. A microburst can cause damaging winds up to 120 mph and can last from five to 15 minutes according to the weather service.

When rain falls directly from the base of a cloud or is mixed with dry air, it begins to evaporate, and this evaporation process cools the air. The cool air descends and accelerates as it approaches the ground. When the cool air approaches the ground, it spreads out in all directions, and this divergence of the wind is the signature of the microburst. High winds spreading out in this type of pattern showing little or no curvature are known as straight-line winds.

It is possible that the microburst that hit Nellis AFB that day produced wind gusts of up to 67 mph.

Master Sgt. Robert Ross, 57th Operations Support Squadron Weather Flight, said during the summer months thunderstorms can develop in this area with the potential for microbursts occurring.

Ross advises when people receive Severe Weather Warnings from the 99th Air Base Wing Command Post take the necessary precautionary measures, check all outside areas to be sure items that could become projectiles in storm winds are secured and critical pieces of equipment don’t become damaged.

Winds over 30 mph can cause lighter objects to become airborne and should be considered dangerous.

Weather can take an unexpected turn very quickly. The best way to stay safe is to be prepared and educated on the possible risks and the steps to take in order to decrease their danger.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jack Sanders

57th OSS integrates new ATC radar system

U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jack Sanders Staff Sgt. Christopher Beier, 57th Wing Air Traffic Controller, monitors radar activity on the newly installed Standard Terminal Automation Replacement System, or STARS, Oct. 15 a...
 
 

Future of AF helicopter fleets discussed at conference

BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. — Air Force Global Strike Command’s Helicopter Operations Division hosted the Worldwide Helicopter Conference here Oct. 7-9, to discuss the current and future state of the Air Force’s helicopter fleets. The conference promoted cross talk among the Air Force’s helicopter forces, which are principally operated by Air Combat Command, Pacific...
 
 

Online vigilance helps reduce risk

MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. — I received at least five emails last week warning me to secure my social media settings and be aware of what I post on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Why? Do you not like to see what I had for dinner last night? Too many #selfies? Are photos of my dog eating...
 

 

Nurturing relationships and a culture of caring

DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. — When life gets challenging, stressors can build and conflicts can escalate, sometimes leading to abuse. Preventing domestic abuse is fundamental to basic relationship maintenance. Partners in healthy relationships work together every day to nurture their relationship, taking care to address issues and concerns when they occur. Healthy relationships should...
 
 
U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Siuta B. Ika

Open House to celebrate Nellis’ legacy of liberty

U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Siuta B. Ika Gary Nellis, son of the late 1st Lt. William Harrell Nellis, Nellis Air Force Base’s namesake, stands in front of memorabilia he has of his father at his home in Henderson, Nev....
 
 
U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Shad Eidson

799th SFS turns up heat, wins Fire Muster traveling trophy

U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Shad Eidson Members of the 432nd Wing Staff team fill a drum to complete the ‘Bucket Brigade’ final event during a fire muster challenge at Creech Air Force Base, Nev., Oct. 10. The 4th An...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin