Freak temperature hike hits Wichita after midnight

June 10, 2011 8:23:26 AM PDT
An unusual weather pattern caused temperatures in Wichita, Kan., to soar nearly 20 degrees in 20 minutes even though the sun had long gone down. National Weather Service meteorologist Stephanie Dunten says the heat burst hiked temperatures from 85 to 102 degrees in 20 minutes, beginning at 12:22 a.m. Thursday.

She says a pocket of air in the upper atmosphere collapsed, and when it hit the ground it sent winds of more than 50 mph through parts of the city.

The Wichita Eagle says that during a heat burst, rain falling from higher elevations cools air beneath it as it evaporates. The cooler air then descends quickly to the surface. As it falls, it is compressed and warms dramatically.