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Chapter 3, Part 2


Gulf War Weather

17 January 1991

There were extensive early morning clouds over the entire area. These clouds gradually moved southward during the day as their bases raised to 8,000 feet. Broken to overcast high clouds from the approaching frontal system began to move in after 1200Z, quickly spreading over the entire area with ceilings from 20,000 to 25,000 feet. The high cloud base thickened and lowered to 10,000 to 15,000 feet by the end of the day.

Winds were from the south or southwest at 6-20 knots, becoming southeasterly after 1200Z and 3-12 after sunset.

Early morning visibilities were as low as 3,200 meters with patchy ground fog in west central Iraq. Blowing sand and suspended dust reduced visibiilty to 3,200 meters during the afternoon on the Saudi Arabia - Iraq border.

High temperatures were 13-22 degrees celsius; lows 6-10 degrees celsius.

18 January 1991

The entire area was covered by clouds with bases at 10,000-15,000 feet. These quickly lowered to 3,000 feet and, in some places, as to low as 1,500 feet. The western part of the area began clearing in the afternoon, but 200 foot ceilings formed throughout the area by the end of the day. Clouds were layered to 30,000 feet from central Iraq to southeastern Kuwait.

Light rain fell throughout the area, beginning as early as 0500Z and lasting past 1800Z in eastern Iraq.

Winds were east to southwesterly at 5-15 knots.

Visibilities were 5km in morning ground fog and 3,200 meters in rain. After the rain passed, visibilities were as low as 4,800 meters in haze and fog, falling to 1,600 meters by the end of the day.

High temperatures were 16-22 degrees C; lows, 8-13 degrees C.

19 January 1991

High pressure was centered in central Iraq and central Saudi Arabia. The stationary frontal system over the area became active when an upper-air disturbance crossed it. A low pressure cell developed and moved the front southward.

The entire area was covered with low clouds with bases at 100-200 feet. By 1200Z the northern part, including Baghdad had cleared. Ceilings in the southern section rose briefly at midday to 1,000-1,500 feet, then returned to 500-1,000 feet for the rest of the day. After sunset the clouds spread northward into the Baghdad area, where ceilings were 1,500 feet. Middle and high clouds, layered to 25,000 feet with bases at 10,000 feet, were also present over the southern area throughout the day.

Winds were east to southeasterly at 5-15 knots, becoming north to northeasterly at 10-20 knots in the afternoon and diminishing to 3-10 knots after sunset."

Morning visibilities were near zero in dense fog throughout the area. The northern section cleared by 1200Z. Visibilities in the south rose to 3,200 meters at midday, then returned to as low as 800 meters for the rest of the day. Visibilities in the northern section were as low as 1,600 meters after sunset.

Temperatures fell in response to northerly winds. Highs were 10-18 degrees C; lows, 0-10 degrees C.

The Czechoslovak chemical detection team detected the nerve agent Sarin (GB) in two separate locations during the morning hours. In addition, Yperite (HD) was also detected. As noted above, the frontal patterns during this period moved to the south-southeast.

20 January 1991

A weakening low-pressure area moved southeastward down the Persian Gulf to the Strait of Hormuz. Cool moist low-level air moved southwest and west over the northeastern half of Saudi Arabia and extreme southwestern Iraq. Mid-level disturbances across the subtropical jet stream resulted in extensive middle and high cloudiness over northern Saudi Arabia and southern Iraq. By day's end another low had crossed Syria toward western Iraq.

At 0000Z broken low clouds at 1,500-4,000 feet covered Baghdad and the Tigris-Euphrates river valley. These clouds slowly cleared from the northwest; by 2100Z, only broken middle and high clouds from 10,000 to 30,000 feet covered the southern half of the Valley. The northern half, including Baghdad saw only thin high clouds. Broken clouds were layered from 1,500 through 25,000 feet over the western slopes of the Zagros mountains. Over the southern Zagros, tops reached 30,000 feet. Isolated afternoon and evening thunderstorms reached 35,000 feet in the extreme southeast near the Zagros mountains. After 2100Z, patchy broken low clouds formed again over the northern part of the Tigris Valley and the immediate Baghdad area; bases were 1,000 to 1,500 feet; tops, 3,000 feet.

Light rain or showers fell over the southern half of the Tigris-Euphrates river valley and southwestern Iraq. There were isolated afternoon and evening thundershowers over the extreme southeast. Intermittent drizzle fell in the cool air moving west away from the northern Persian Gulf.

Winds were northwesterly to northerly over the Baghdad area, becoming northeasterly over the southern Tigris-Euphrates river valley. Over Kuwait and extreme southern Iraq, winds were northeasterly to easterly. Speeds dimished from 10-15 knots in the morning to 5-10 knots by mid-evening.

Visibilities in southern and southwestern Iraq and in extreme northeastern Saudi Arabia were near zero in fog during the night, but as high as 2,000 meters in southern Iraq and Kuwait during mid-afternoon. After dark, they dropped rapidly to less than 500 meters. Visibilities in the Tigris-Euphrates river valley, northwest of the low clouds, improved to 10 km by late morning. Patchy dense river fog formed after 2100Z, dropping visibilities to less than 500 meters.

High temperatures were 7-10 degrees Centigrade in the north and 18 degrees Centigrade in the south. There were freezing temperatures in Iraq and north Saudi Arabia, and subfreezing temperatures above 6,000 feet in the mountains of southeastern Turkey and northeastern Iraq. Central Saudi Arabian lows were 5-12 degrees C.

21 January 1991

Mid-level disturbances continued to move east-northeastward along the subtropical jet stream, crossing northern Saudi Arabia and Kuwait into Iran.

Patchy dense fog and low clouds again plagued southwestern Iraq and extreme northeastern Saudi Arabia until they dissipated in late morning. Cloud bases were from zero to 1,000 feet; visibilities, from near zero to 500 meters. Layered middle and high clouds persisted from 10,000 to 32,000 feet over most of northern and central Saudi Arabia and the central Red Sea.

Extensive fog and low clouds also prevailed in this area. Cloud bases were from near zero to 500 meters, and tops reached 2,000 feet. The clouds and fog slowly dissipated by late morning over southwestern Iraq and northeastern Saudi Arabia as far east as Rafha and King Khalid Military City. Over northeastern Saudi Arabia, the low clouds and fog became broken with bases near 3,000 feet and tops at 6,000 feet by early afternoon. On the Saudi Arabian and Persian Gulf coast, early morning ceilings were also near zero, but by late morning, most clouds had become scattered. Patchy fog and low clouds reformed throughout all of northeastern Saudi Arabia and extreme southwestern Iraq shortly after dark. Ceilings dropped to 200-500 feet by 2100Z. Layered middle and high clouds from 10,000-32,000 feet moved slowly southeastward over southern Iraq, northwestern Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait; by 2100Z, they were over central and northeastern Saudi Arabia just southeast of Kuwait. Inf! rared satellite imagery taken just before sunrise in Kuwait shows these layered decks.

Precipitation, outside of thunderstorms and showers, was limited to light drizzle in areas of dense fog and low clouds.

Winds were northwesterly at 5-10 knots in southeastern Iraq and northeastern Saudi Arabia; they slowly became southeasterly at 5-10 knots in southwestern Iraq and in north-central and northwestern Saudi Arabia.

Early morning visibilities in the fog and low cloud area ranged from zero to 500 meters, improving to 1,000-3,000 meters by late morning and to 5-5 km by late afternoon. Visibilities were as low as 100 meters in denser fog patches. Patchy dense fog again formed after dark. The thickset fog was found along the Persian Gulf coastline and in shallow depressions inland where sand was still moist or where showers had occurred earlier in the day. On the Persian Gulf coast, visibilities improved from near zero at dawn to 1,000-2,000 meters by 0900Z, but dropped below 500 meters in fog by 1900Z. Patchy dense fog over and near the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers northwest of Basrah dissipated by 0600Z, but reformed after 1900Z

22 January 1991

Easterly to east-northeasterly low-level winds continued to bring moisture to west-central and northwest Saudi Arabia. The subtropical jet stream slowly weakened, but it continued to bring middle and high clouds northeastward across the Arabian peninsula into Kuwait and southwestern Iran.

Multilayered broken middle and high clouds persisted over southwestern Iraq, the southern Persian Gulf, and central Saudi Arabia from 10,000 to 28,000 feet. Visibilities remained good except where mountains were obscured by cloud.

Fog and low clouds again persisted all night over northeastern Saudi Arabia, the northern Saudi Arabian Persian Gulf coast, and extreme southwestern Iraq. Ceilings were again from near zero to 500 feet. Low clouds slowly lifted and dissipated, moving to a small area southwest of Kuwait by late morning. Bases were now 3,000 feet, with tops to 7,000 feet. Isolated thunderstorms, with bases as low as 2,000 feet, formed in late morning and early afternoon in extreme northeastern Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the northern Persian Gulf, and southwestern Iraq. Tops reached 40,000 feet. Layered broken middle and high clouds persisted from 10,000 to 27,000 feet throughout the day over central and northeastern Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and extreme southwestern Iraq. Iraq northwest of Basrah was clear. A visual DMSP satellite image taken shortly after sunrise in Kuwait, shows layered clouds with embedded thunderstorms over northern Saudi Arabia, the Persian Gulf, and southwestern Iran.

By sunset, low clouds and fog began to reform along the Iraqi-Saudi Arabia border northwest as far as Rafha. By late evening, the fog had lifted into broken low clouds with bases from 1,000 to 2,000 feet and tops to 5,000 feet. These clouds had spread north and northeast as far as the central Tigris-Euphrates river valley by 2100Z.

Showers and thunderstorms fell over northeastern Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the northern Persian Gulf, and southwestern Iran. Patchy nighttime drizzle fell in area of dense fog and low clouds.

Winds were northeasterly at 5 knots, becoming southeasterly at 5-10 knots after 0900Z.

Visibilities dropped to less than 100 meters in fog before dawn.

23 January 1991

By mid-afternoon, the frontal system had moved south of Baghdad. A weak high pressure center formed over Kuwait early in the day and moved slowly southeast in the northern Persian Gulf. The weak stationary frontal system in central Saudi Arabia weakened further. The southwest to northeast subtropical jet stream over central Saudi Arabia moved southeastward to Qatar by 2100Z.

Isolated blowing dust reduced visibilities to as low as 3,200 meters in western Iraq.

Extensive broken to overcast low clouds, with bases of 500-1,000 feet and tops to 1,500-2,000 feet, covered northeastern and central Saudi Arabia. By early afternoon, skies were scattered to broken and bases had lifted to 3,000 feet. This layer dissipated shortly before sunset over northeastern Saudi Arabia, but reformed by 2000Z. In early evening, broken low clouds from 3,000 to 5,000 feet moved north and northeastward over Kuwait and the southern Tigris-Euphrates river valley in advance of the southward moving cold front. By 1200Z, the leading edge of broken to overcast frontal cloud layers had moved south of Baghdad, with bases from 3,000 to 4,000 feet; tops were 12,000-15,000 feet with broken high clouds above. Isolated rainshowers along and just ahead of the front reached 20,000 feet. By 2000Z, the leading edge of the frontal clouds had moved to near An Najaf in the Tigris-Euphrates river valley--the trailing edge was 60 miles north of Baghdad. Figure 3-8, a vis! ual sa tellite image taken at 1037Z, shows these layered clouds well.

Isolated moderate to heavy rain showers fell in central Iraq along and within 100 miles either side of the southeastward moving cold front. Patch light drizzle fell in northeastern Saudi Arabia before 0500Z.

Winds were easterly at 5-7 knots before dawn, becoming southeasterly at 5-10 knots by late morning in extreme southern Iraq and northeastern Saudi Arabia. By 1700Z, wind had veered to southerly at 10-15 knots. In central Iraq, winds were light and variable until 1200Z, becoming southerly at 10-20 knots after 1500Z.

24 January 1991

At 1200Z, heavy rain fell in extreme northern Saudi Arabia near the western Iraq border. Fog formed during the night and through the morning in north-central Saudi Arabia, along the western Saudi Arabia-Iraq border, in northern Jordan, and in southern Syria.

Winds were westerly to northwesterly at 10 knots during the first 12 hours, becoming northerly to northeasterly at 10 knots later in the day.

Visibilities in fog were as low as 5 km from 0000 to 1000Z in Saudi Arabia./I>

25 January 1991

A low moved east-northeast across Syria and Iraq, producing light snow and rain showers, blowing dust, and extensive cloudiness. Conditions improved toward the end of the day as the system moved into Iran. By the end of the day, another low had developed along the eastern Mediterranean coast, increasing cloudiness in western Iraq.

The low produced light snow over western Iraq, northeastern Jordan, and Syria; light rainshowers fell in northwestern Saudi Arabia and Iraq. Winds to 20 knots in northern Saudi Arabia produced duststorms from 0900 to 1500Z as far south as 28 degrees north.

Cloud cover was extensive until evening, by which time the system had moved into Iran. Broken to overcast low and middle clouds, along with some high clouds, preceded the low and its cold front. Scattered to broken low clouds followed the front; ceilings were 2,000-3,000 feet, but as low as 500 feet in rainshowers.

Precipitation consisted of light rainshowers that developed with the frontal system. At Z, Baghdad skies were overcast with rainshowers.

From 0400 to 1100Z in Saudi Arabia, fog reduced visibility to as low as 3,600 meters. Fog redeveloped in the evening. Some dust may have been advected into the area from storms farther west.

26 January 1991

By 1800Z, a weak secondary low had formed along the front in Saudi Arabia near 27 degrees North, 44 degrees East, and drifted slowly east.

The low pressure system produced light snow over southern Syria and light rainshowers in northern Saudi Arabia and western Iraq. Blowing dust south of the rain in Saudi Arabia reduced visibilities to 5 km. Winds were 20 knots around the low, but reached 30 knots with rain in northwestern Saudi Arabia.

The low moving across southern Iraq produced extensive cloudiness, as well as thunderstorms with bases at 2,000 feet and tops to 35,000 feet. Ceilings were as low as 800 feet in rainshowers.

Precipitation fell as light rain and rainshowers in Saudi Arabia around the low. Rainshowers also fell in Iraq.

Winds were northwesterly at 5-15 knots most of the day, becoming northeasterly as the storm system approached and northwesterly again as it passed. Peak speeds were 23 knots, probably higher in Iraq.

Visibilities in eastern Iraq were 6 km in haze early in the day through 0600Z. Later in the day, visibilities on the south sides of showers and duststorms were reduced to 8 km.

27 January 1991

A low moving eastward from northeastern Saudi Arabia to the Persian Gulf coast produced extensive cloudiness over most of southeastern Iraq. The low gradually weakened throughout the day, leaving only some low clouds in the vicinity of the Gulf by late evening. A cold front extended west-southwest from the low across Saudi Arabia. A strong high moved into northwestern Saudi Arabia, driving the cold front into southern Saudi Arabia; strong winds behind the front produced duststorms.

The storm system produced significant weather over large parts of Saudi Arabia. Light rain and rainshowers moving east with the low persisted at some Gulf coastal stations until 1900Z. The low produced multilayered clouds the first half of the day, but only low cloud the second half. A low overcast with fog developed behind the front in northwestern Saudi Arabia; fog dropped visibilities to as low as 200 meters. Skies improved by mid-morning and cleared by afternoon. Strong winds behind the front produced duststorms. Visibilities in northwestern Saudi Arabia was near zero in early evening because of blowing dust in 35 knot winds.

Skies were initially overcast in the southeastern two-thirds of the area, but Baghdad and vicinity was clear. Middle and high clouds were only present the first half of the day; they dissipated and moved off to the east by 1200Z. The low clouds moved southeast during the day and were out of Iraq by 1500Z. After 1500Z, the low cloud remaining over Saudi Arabia and Kuwait was broken to overcast.

Precipitation fell from 0000 to 0600Z as light drizzle, rain, rainshowers.

Winds were initially southeasterly at 10-15 knots ahead of the low, by northerly to northwesterly across Iraq behind the front. Winds shifted across the area by 1200Z; northerly to northwesterly winds were 10-20 knots with peak gusts to 30 knots. Speeds dropped to less than 10 knots during the evening.

Visibilities dropped to 9 km under the cloud cover in rain, fog, and haze.

28 January 1991

High pressure began to dominate the weather over Iraq and northern Saudi Arabia, but parts of Saudi Arabia were still affected by weather left in the wake of the low pressure system that prevailed on the 27th.

Morning fog and low clouds north of Riyadh lowered ceilings and visibility to 2,000 feet and 8km. There were some scattered to broken low clouds in the western Persian Gulf and at coastal stations. There was broken fog and stratus, with blowing dust, in southern Saudi Arabia.

Skies were generally clear except for thin scattered high cloud at 22,000-28,000 feet over northern Iraq and heavy black smoke over southern Iraq--see Figure 3-14. Winds were northwesterly at 3-10 knots, becoming more northerly toward the end of the day. Visibilities were as low as 1,500 meters over southern Iraq in the heavy smoke.

Visible Smoke Plumes

NOAA visual imagery in Gulf War Weather shows smoke plumes visible originating in an area just south of the two large lakes west of Baghdad and extending to the southeast. Available NOAA thermal imagery details smoke plumes in eastern Iraq moving to the southeast.

29 January 1991

A high pressure area over Saudi Arabia weakened as it moved southeast toward Qatar. A mid to upper level disturbance moved across the northern part of the region, resulting in extensive cloudiness over northern Iraq and Turkey.

The disturbance produced light rain and snow in Syria and snow in Turkey. There was extensive black smoke along the Persian Gulf coast. Suspended dust still reduced visibility in southern Saudi Arabia.

Isolated evening thunderstorms from 3,000 to 35,000 feet developed over southeastern Iraq. Some formed southwest of Baghdad at 1800Z.

Winds were near calm during the night, becoming east-southeasterly at 5-10 knots in the morning and increasing 10-20 knots during the afternoon. On the Persian Gulf coast, however, winds were northwesterly at 5-10 knots for the first half of the day before switching to east-southeast.

Visibilities were 8 km in blowing dust in the afternoon as the winds picked up. Black smoke reduced visibilities along the Persian Gulf coast--one station reported 9 km.

30 January 1991

A low pressure system developed in the eastern Mediterranean and moved eastward across Syria, reaching western Iraq by the end of the day.

Low clouds moved into western Iraq during the day with ceilings around 3,000 feet. The subtropical jet stream produced high clouds across central Saudi Arabia.

Cloud cover from the previous day's disturbance remained over eastern Iraq and Kuwait; broken low clouds at 3,000-6,000 feet in the north around Baghdad dissipated by 1100Z. Over Kuwait, broken middle clouds from 8,000 to 14,000 feet moved off to the east by 0600Z. Broken to overcast low clouds with 3,000 foot ceilings and 6,000 foot tops entered the western part of the area in the evening.

With the storm system approaching, winds were southerly to southeasterly at 5-10 knots.

Visibilities were restricted, primarily by haze and smoke from burning oil. Morning fog reduced visibility to 5 km in some spots; most haze restrictions were reported at 8 km. Some dust was raised during the day with increasing winds from the approaching system.

Visible Smoke Plumes

DMSP visual imagery in Gulf War Weather shows smoke plumes originating in an area west of the two large lakes west of Baghdad and extending to the southeast. The plume splits into two plumes, one extending to the east and the other to the SSE just south of the southernmost lake.

31 January 1991

A slow moving low in the eastern Mediterranean Sea spread stormy weather throughout the Middle East as an associated frontal system passed through Iraq. At 0600Z, a secondary low pressure cell was centered southwest of Baghdad. It rapidly moved northeast while the cold front moved south and weakened. In north-central Saudi Arabia, the strong subtropical jet stream spread extensive high clouds.

Broken to overcast low clouds extended over the area until about 1600Z, with ceilings over Iraq as low as 3,000 feet and tops to 6,000 feet. Baghdad was affected between 0200 and 0900Z. Skies became clear in central Iraq and Kuwait after 1600Z as the front moved southward.

Isolated thunderstorms with tops to 35,000 feet passed northeast of Baghdad near 1100Z. Rain fell in western Iraq when the low pressure cell moved through.

Winds were southwesterly at 5-10 knots before the front and westerly to northerly at 15-20 knots immediately behind it.

Visibilities were reduced to 4,000 meters by duststorms in Kuwait and southern Iraq as the front passed. Ground fog lowered visibilities to about 6 km in northeastern Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and southern Iraq.

1 February 1991

High pressure was centered over northwestern Saudi Arabia, keeping central Iraq cloud-free. A weak cold front extended from a low centered in north-central Iran. The front spread middle clouds from Qatar southwestward across Saudi Arabia. A slow moving low-pressure system centered on the Turkey-Syria border caused rainshowers in western Iraq, Syria, and Jordan. By 1800Z, middle clouds from this low reached Baghdad. A weak low developed on the central Red Sea coast in response to an upper air distrubance.

Middle clouds covered the mountains to Iraq's west and north. Light rain fell in Syria and northern Iraq between 1800 and 2100Z. Extensive areas of mountain-wave turbulence developed in the west between 0300Z and 1500Z and reached as far east as 43 degrees east. Early-morning ground fog formed in low lying areas over most of the eastern Arabian Peninsula. Lowest visibilities were 2,000-4,000 meters.

Skies were clear to scattered before about 0900Z, except in the extreme northeast. Broken low clouds from the low in Turkey spread southward; by 1600Z, they had reached Baghdad, with 3,000 foot ceilings. Thin broken or scattered cirrus spread northeastward from the northern Red Sea, covering the area south of 31 degrees North by 1100Z.

Winds were northeasterly at 5-10 knots in the south, westerly to the north. Afternoon winds were light and variable over central Iraq. Visibilities were generally good, but morning ground fog reduced them to about 6 km in northeast Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and southern Iraq.

2 February 1991

A trough of low pressure formed to the east of a high pressure cell centered over eastern Saudi Arabia, causing low clouds in southern Iraq. A frontal systrem with low centers in the southern Caspian Sea and in east-central Syria extended along the northern Iraq border. The strong subtropical jet stream spread high and middle clouds over central Saudi Arabia.

Low and middle clouds prevailed over northern and western Iraq. Early morning ground fog formed in low-lying areas over most of the eastern Arabian Peninsula. Extensive areas of mountain-wave turbulence developed near the Syria-Iraq border between 0300 and 1500Z and reached to 43 degrees East.

The subtropical jet stream caused layered middle and high clouds over the area south of 32 degrees North throughout the day. Ceilings were between 15,000 and 25,000 feet, with the lowest along the northern Persian Gulf. Frontal low clouds stretched along the Syria-Iraq border. The broken low clouds southwest of Baghdad included 4,000 foot ceilings and 6,000 foot tops. These clouds gradually moved east; by 2000Z, they were on the Kuwait coast. Another layer of low clouds with ceilings of about 3,000 feet formed over the Tigris-Euphrates river valley north of 31 degrees North during the night.

Winds were easterly at 10-15 knots south of 30 degrees North, southerly in the central area, and westerly north of 33 degrees North. They were gusty in the southern areas.

Duststorms reduced visibilities in the northern Nafud Desert eastward to southern Kuwait between 1200 and 2000Z. Minimum visibility was about 2,400 meters. Dense smoke was reported in northwestern Kuwait before 0800Z--visibilities were probably below 2,000 meters.

High temperatures were 13-16 degrees Celsius; lows, 2-11 degrees Celsius.

3 February 1991

The frontal system in eastern Syria began to move slowly eastward and break up, resulting in lowered ceilings and gusty winds. The nearly dry front passed Baghdad at 2000Z. A weak front extended from central Iraq to near Riyadh, spreading low clouds to Iraq's eastern section. The subtropical jet stream became more westerly than northwesterly, leaving the northern Persian Gulf cloud-free but spreading scattered to broken middle and high clouds across Saudi Arabia.

Sustained winds to 25 knots were reported in extreme northwestern Saudi Arabia as the front passed. Extensive duststorms reduced visibilities to 1,000 meters near the front in the Syrian and Nafud Deserts. Duststorms were also reported at 1500Z between Riyadh and Kuwait.

Middle and high clouds from the subtropical jet stream had moved out of the area by 1000Z. In the morning, scattered to broken low clouds covered Iraq east of 43 degrees East and all of Kuwait, some locations reported 3,000 foot ceilings. By 1200Z, the clouds had moved eastward to the Iraq-Turkey border. A small area of low clouds with 3,000 foot ceilings formed about 100 miles west of Baghdad at 1600Z.

Winds were westerly at 10-25 knots west of 45 degrees East, but southeasterly at 10-15 knots to the east. There were gusts to 35 knots near the front.

Duststorms reduced visibilities to as low as 500 meters at about 1500Z in southern Kuwait and northeastern Saudi Arabia. Elsewhere, visibilities were above 6 km. High temperatures were 8-20 degrees Celsius; lows 3-16 degrees Celsius.

4 February 1991

High pressure centered in southeastern Egypt strengthened and built into northwestern Saudi Arabia. The low pressure system that had been affecting northern Iraq continued to move eastward. By 0900Z, the trough had moved southeastward to the south of Qatar. The subtropical jet stream continued to spread high and middle clouds over the central Arabia Peninsula.

In the early morning, middle clouds produced 10,000 foot ceilings in a triangular area between 30 degrees North and a southwest-northeast line running from 60 miles south of Baghdad, then eastward to the Iraqi border. These clouds rapidly moved southeastward. By 0600Z, they affected only the coast of Kuwait. The area was almost cloud free by 1000Z.

Winds were northeasterly at 10-15 knots inland, but northerly at 15-20 knots on the Kuwait coast. Inland, winds became northerly at 5-10 knots aftrer 1800Z.

Visibilities were generally above 10 km, but scattered fires and smoke plumes reduced visibility in Kuwait to below 4 km. One smoke plume, originating in southern Kuwait, measured 35 miles long and 10-15 miles wide.

High temperatures were 3-13 degrees Celsius; lows, 2-8 degrees Celsius.

5 February 1991

High pressure centered in central Iraq kept skies clear or scattered most of the day, but clouds associated with the subtropical jet stream still spread high and middle clouds over the central Arabian Peninsula. These clouds were scattered in the morning, but denser clouds moved in from Egypt by 1000Z.

Morning haze reduced visibilities in central Saudi Arabia; Riyadh reported 4,800 meters at 0500Z, improving to 8 km by 0800Z. Duststorms after 2000Z were the result of 20 knot winds over the Syrian and Nafud Desert; they lowered visibility to 5 km.

Clouds were limited to scattered cirrus until about 1100Z, but the subtropical jet stream moved scattered to broken middle and high clouds into southwestern Iraq later in the day. These clouds had moved over Kuwait by 1600Z, producing 10,000 foot ceilings during the night.

Winds were northeasterly at 10-15 knots along the coast, but light and variable in Iraq. As the front shifted farther north after 0900Z, winds in the south became stronger and more easterly. Visibilities were above 10 km except in Kuwait, where scattered fires and smoke plumes reduced visibility to below 4 km. High temperatures were 9-17 degrees Celsius; lows, 0-6 degrees Celsius.

Visible Smoke Plumes

DMSP visual imagery in Gulf War Weather shows small visible smoke plumes over Kuwait extending to the south and southeast.

6 February 1991

High pressure was centered in northwestern Iraq, with a weak low pressure trough to the southeast between central Saudi Arabia--near Riyadh--and Israel. The subtropical jet stream remained over the northern Arabian Peninsula; associated high clouds became increasingly scattered after 0600Z.

At 0000Z, there were only scattered low, middle, and high clouds throughout the area. By 0300Z, the middle cloud deck had thickened; ceilings as low as 12,000 feet, with tops at about 18,000 feet, had formed over the southwestern half of Iraq. These clouds drifted eastward, and by 1900Z they were east of Baghdad and Kuwait. Middle and high clouds from the subtropical jet stream affected Kuwait and southern Iraq between 0400 and 1100Z; bases were at or above 10,000 feet, with tops to 32,000 feet.

Winds were light and variable in Iraq, but easterly at 5-10 knots in Kuwait. Morning fog, smoke, and dust reduced visibilities in Kuwait and southern Iraq to as low as 3,200 meters in spots. Afternoon visibilities in areas not affected by smoke were above 6 km.

Afternoon high temperatures were between 5 and 13 degrees Celsius. High pressure and almost clear skies drove morning low temperatures down to -2 degrees Celsius in the north and 7 degrees Celsius in the south.


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