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Extreme turbulence reported by a DC-9

When you tangle with deep, moist convection, it should not surprise anyone if extreme turbulence is the result. Here's an example of a DC-9 that reported extreme turbulence at 3,100 feet at 1623Z over Shreveport, Louisiana today.

Based on the DC-9 Flightaware arrivals into Shreveport around 1623Z, it appears that the flight below inbound from Detroit, Michigan is the one that encountered this turbulence. At first appearance with the radar overlay, it may appear the flight made it to the airport just before the main line of convection moved through. However, the radar depiction shown in Flightaware is earlier than when the aircraft landed.

The actual radar depiction shown below is more representative of the weather this flight faced turning northwest and penetrating this line of severe convection.

The track log from Flightaware shows a pretty sharp drop in altitude over the span of a couple of minutes about the time of the report.

The most telling aspect of this was the significant change of air mass from 1600Z to 1700Z at the airport. The top Skew-T analysis from the Rapid Refresh model is valid at 16Z and the middle Skew-T analysis is valid at 17Z. But the bottom chart is a combination of the two (16Z is black and 17Z is magenta) using the Ctrl-Shift overlay feature of the NOAA soundings tool. It illuminates a distinct change of low-level winds below 7,000 feet MSL as well as a change of temperature and dewpoint below 5,000 feet MSL as this line of convection passed through.

Most pilots are weatherwise, but some are otherwise

Dr. Scott Dennstaedt

Weather Systems Engineer

Founder, EZWxBrief™

CFI & former NWS meteorologist

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