Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Backwards Storm Intercept

We intercepted the most interesting storm to date yesterday, in North Texas. For a while, a strong storm was approaching the Dallas/Fort Worth area. It was in 'bad' air, so we waited to see if it would cross Dallas and become a supercell when it emerged to the east. Instead it surprised us and split, and even more unusually, the right moving split died and the left moving split moved straight to the north. While 'left movers' are not VORTEX2's typical target type, we scrambled back to Slidell, Texas to get ahead of the storm. It had begun to rotate, and even had a feature that looked like a hook. A left moving storm like this is very difficult to intercept. We all had to put on our 'mirror glasses' since the storm structure was expected to be a mirror image of a normal supercell. It really taxed our adaptability, but the well practiced VORTEX2 scientists did great.

The storm made golfball sized hail and strong winds. One of the DOWs, the high-tech 6-beam Rapid-Scan DOW measured differences in winds across the rotation of 60 m/s (150 mph), which is quite intense. But the circulation was aloft and cut off from the ground by a cold outflow. There was not much chance of a tornado. The NSSL mesonets, the CSWR mesonets, and the TTU Sticknets all deployed in a box between the 6 X-band radars deployed close to the storm, so we collected very good data.

Eventually the storm morphed again, and a cyclonic, or normally rotating circulation developed. We collected radar data in that also.

It was our most intensively studied storm to date.

Today is a down day, so we are working on repairs, traveling north to our next target area, which may be in Nebraska or Iowa as soon as Friday, and doing our laundry.

24 comments:

  1. Impressive. Would it be fair to say this is the most intensively observed "left-moving"/anticyclonically rotating storm to-date?

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