Radar and Other Observations of Two Vaulted Storms in Northeastern Colorado

View More View Less
  • 1 National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO 80307
© Get Permissions
Restricted access

Abstract

Detailed radar echo structures and histories of two storms are presented. Both advanced into cloudless skies and had prominent, bounded weak echo regions. The storms had comparable size and intensity, and their environments provided similar amounts of shear and potential instability. One was an organized, multicellular storm, and had detailed photographic coverage from an aircraft. The combination of visual and radar data suggests the possibility of seeding of turrets in the “flanking line” by ice particles falling from the anvil. The other storm was a supercell. It had a rather steady echo configuration with a radar echo vault for about 40 min, and produced an exceptionally heavy hailswath, with hail up to 10 cm deep. However, the heavy hailfall at the ground started before vault formation and ended well before vault dissipation. The hailfall relates best to the onset of the strong updraft that (presumably) produced the vault, but does not relate to the mere fact of the existence of the bounded weak echo region.

The radar reflectivity structure and evolution of these two storms provide an interesting contrast. They are discussed in terms of the distinction between multicellular and supercell storms, and the concepts of storm and cell motion.

Abstract

Detailed radar echo structures and histories of two storms are presented. Both advanced into cloudless skies and had prominent, bounded weak echo regions. The storms had comparable size and intensity, and their environments provided similar amounts of shear and potential instability. One was an organized, multicellular storm, and had detailed photographic coverage from an aircraft. The combination of visual and radar data suggests the possibility of seeding of turrets in the “flanking line” by ice particles falling from the anvil. The other storm was a supercell. It had a rather steady echo configuration with a radar echo vault for about 40 min, and produced an exceptionally heavy hailswath, with hail up to 10 cm deep. However, the heavy hailfall at the ground started before vault formation and ended well before vault dissipation. The hailfall relates best to the onset of the strong updraft that (presumably) produced the vault, but does not relate to the mere fact of the existence of the bounded weak echo region.

The radar reflectivity structure and evolution of these two storms provide an interesting contrast. They are discussed in terms of the distinction between multicellular and supercell storms, and the concepts of storm and cell motion.

Save