A forensic study of the Lubbock-Reese downdraft of 2002

J. D. Holmes, H. M. Hangan, J. L. Schroeder, C. W. Letchford, K. D. Orwig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

142 Scopus citations


This paper discusses engineering aspects of the rear-flank downdraft that was recorded near Lubbock, Texas on 4 June 2002, and produced a gust wind speed nearly equal to the design value (50-year return period) for the region. The general characteristics of the storm, and the decomposition of the time histories into deterministic 'running mean' and random turbulence components are discussed. The fluctuating wind speeds generated by the event can be represented as a dominant low-frequency 'running-mean', with superimposed random turbulence of higher frequencies. Spectral and correlation characteristics of the residual turbulence are found to be similar to those of high-frequency turbulence in boundary-layer winds. However, the low-frequency components in the running-mean wind speeds are spatially homogeneous, in contrast to the low-frequency turbulence found in synoptic boundary-layer winds. With respect to transmission line design, this results in significantly higher 'span reduction factors'.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-152
Number of pages16
JournalWind and Structures, An International Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2008


  • Downdraft
  • Rear-flank
  • Supercell
  • Thunderstorm
  • Transmission-line
  • Turbulence


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