A Pair of Great Supercells

By: Vortex2 , 5:50 AM GMT on June 11, 2009

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Hello fellow supercell enthusiasts! We’re in Dodge City, KS tonight, awaiting the possibility of a long journey tomorrow. On Sunday June 7, the Vortex2 team was able to successfully intercept a supercell in northwestern Missouri, deploying almost all of the instruments and radars in the armada. The storm from Sunday did not produce a tornado while we were measuring it, but did become tornadic only a few hours after we called off operations due to sunset. It was an amazing set of data for a great null-case supercell. Scientists will be able to study these data for years to come to find out why exactly it didn’t produce a tornado even when it had a tornado warning associated with it. However, it would have been an extremely dangerous situation for many people if it had produced, as it was in a fairly urbanized area and saturated with amateur stormchasers. The escape path that most of the people would have taken to the south was cut off by the Missouri River, and the west, north and east were cut off by the supercell itself! We are all thankful that nobody was put into this situation. Severe hail damage was reported by many teams, as up to grapefruit sized hail was dropped by this storm. The first four pictures on this blog are from that Missouri storm.

On Tuesday June 9, the team was at it again in southern Kansas, about 40 miles west of Pratt. The day started in Salina, KS that morning, and the SPC had highlighted a 15% chance-of-tornadoes contour in south central KS. This was the best chance given by the SPC so far on the Vortex2 project, so we were all excited at the opportunity to intercept a nice storm. (We recalled that the day we found our first tornado was only a 10% contour!) We made our way to the West side of Wichita by the early afternoon, and a crossroads was reached. There were supercells ready to spawn to the east and west of our position, so a decision had to be made which way to go. The call was made to head west towards the town of Pratt in hopes of encountering a good storm. As we traveled, we saw reports of tornadoes far to the east of Wichita, the path we had decided to forego. However, it would likely have been too far out of range to get all of our instruments deployed in time, so nobody seemed too upset about it. We did end up finding a great looking supercell about 30 miles west of Pratt, and all of our instruments including sticknets, radars, and mobile mesonets were able to sample the storm in its entirety. We retrieved a great data set, and even though the storm was not tornadic, it will be extremely valuable to the scientific community. The storm had a beautiful funnel drop towards the ground, but never quite made it all the way down. Check the pictures starting with the 5th on this blog post to see what I’m talking about. Also, baseball sized hail was again reported, and another windshield on a mobile mesonet was cracked as it did a cross-section of the core of the storm. Vortex2: breaking stuff for SCIENCE!

All in all, it was a great start to the week for the Vortex2 project, gathering two very nice sets of data on two non-tornadic supercells over a three day period. Stay tuned, and thanks for reading!!

Mike Texter
Senior in Earth Systems Science and Engineering-Meteorology
Atmospheric, Oceanic, and Space Sciences, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor

Corkscrew storm (Vortex2)
West of Pratt, KS, with a funnel visible
Corkscrew storm
corkscrew storm (Vortex2)
West of Pratt, KS
corkscrew storm
Corkscrew storm (Vortex2)
West of Pratt, KS
Corkscrew storm
Corkscrew with funnel (Vortex2)
west of Pratt, KS, with the funnel clearly visible below the wall cloud and rotation around the updraft. The anvil above also takes on a spiral shape
Corkscrew with funnel

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26. cyclonebuster
2:28 PM GMT on June 28, 2009
a href="" target="_blank">Link

HOWS THAT!
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20221
25. VVxGirl
2:26 PM GMT on June 28, 2009
I wish I knew how to post it here. It took me 3 days to figure out how to get it on you tube (after trying the weather network and ctv news at no avail.) I'm not quite that tech savvy. One file is 82 mb and the other 208mb. If anyone knows how to post it here feel free. That would be great. E-mail me with where you posted it. Thanks.
Member Since: February 8, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 73
24. cyclonebuster
1:59 PM GMT on June 28, 2009
How about posting it here?
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20221
23. VVxGirl
11:09 AM GMT on June 28, 2009
Check out my videos on You Tube called "Avon F2 Tornado" and "Avon Tornado" submitted by tylander4 (thats me). Some awesome extreme weather caught live by surprise!
Member Since: February 8, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 73
22. cyclonebuster
4:36 PM GMT on June 25, 2009
TUNNELS WORK.


Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20221
21. cyclonebuster
3:22 PM GMT on June 17, 2009
Mike Texter
Senior in Earth Systems Science and Engineering-Meteorology
Atmospheric, Oceanic, and Space Sciences, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor do you think the tunnels should be computer modeled to see if there is an effect on severe weather systems and or tornado formation? Can computers even model this?
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20221
20. MastaSki06
1:23 PM GMT on June 16, 2009
Great pictures and this is really good reading!
Member Since: September 19, 2005 Posts: 5 Comments: 153
19. catfuraplenty
8:36 PM GMT on June 15, 2009
Wow, there's no other word to describe those pictures. You must be having the time of your life. I know I would be. Science aside there is that kid in all of us that looks to the sky and sees all that might that is uncontrolled and just has to stare in wonder.

Good luck, stay safe and happy hunting. :)
Member Since: May 7, 2006 Posts: 149 Comments: 3337
18. TheDawnAwakening
4:26 PM GMT on June 12, 2009
I am amazed everyday watching these pictures on live television. Something I want to see with my own eyes someday. Living on Cape Cod, MA is hard for a weather enthusiast. I love to watch thunderstorms, but we rarely have thunderstorms until late June, July and August, with August our best month. Someday I would like to study reasons why Cape Cod, MA doesn't see tornadoes, because it's not impossible.
Member Since: October 21, 2008 Posts: 243 Comments: 3564
17. cyclonebuster
12:44 PM GMT on June 12, 2009
Mike Texter
Senior in Earth Systems Science and Engineering-Meteorology
Atmospheric, Oceanic, and Space Sciences, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor thank you for your responce. What they can do is change the warm air envirionment needed for severe weather and tornadogenisis to a cool air environment thus lowering the frequency of such storms. I don't know if Vortex 2 can capture that information at the storm location but if it can then computer modeling can also help you guys in this area of what makes them tick? It may lead to some other area to study.Anyways,hope you guys and gals do well and be safe out there.
I would not be in anything except a M1 TANK studying those storms. I was in Andrews eye when it came ashore. I can't imagine any storm being worse than that.
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20221
16. FeatOfClay
12:38 PM GMT on June 12, 2009
It's very strange to wish a tornado on someone, but I hope you guys find more!
15. Vortex2
5:23 AM GMT on June 12, 2009
Cyclone, I really don't know what to tell you about your tube system for regulating the gulf stream. It's well beyond the scope of what we're trying to do with the VORTEX2 project. Its a novel idea to be sure, but i suggest you try the climate blog by Dr. Ricky Rood, also a featured blog on wunderground. Sorry we can't be of more help, and good luck!
Member Since: April 30, 2009 Posts: 31 Comments: 13
14. MNTornado
1:12 AM GMT on June 12, 2009
Those are some amazing pictures. Especially the last two. I have never seen a wall cloud from that point of view before or one that looked exactly like that. Sounds like the vortex2 team is getting some really good data now. Too bad you can't extend this project for a few more weeks now that the storms are finally putting on a show for you to work with.
Member Since: July 1, 2005 Posts: 154 Comments: 19314
13. cyclonebuster
11:37 PM GMT on June 11, 2009
Mike Texter,

Senior in Earth Systems Science and Engineering-Meteorology
Atmospheric, Oceanic, and Space Sciences, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor

If I made you an ice age would tornados/hurricanes go away?
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20221
12. charlesimages
7:58 PM GMT on June 11, 2009
These pix are awesome!
Member Since: May 25, 2006 Posts: 347 Comments: 29278
11. twhcracker
7:49 PM GMT on June 11, 2009
Quoting upweatherdog:
Very cool pics!



In Florida, high humidity and warm temperatures help build up extreme instability. Sea breezes provide lift for very large thunderstorms to develop. However, the main jetstream is well to the north, so shear is relativly weak. Weak shear prevents strong rotation in storms, therefore large tornados are rare.

However, with such plentiful warm, moist air, thunderstorms develop very strong updrafts. Strong updrafts are very prone to rotation, even when shear is weak or sea breezes collide. That is why central Florida has many tornados, but most of them are weak.


wow cool, thank you, i have been wondering about that for years! i thought it had something to do with most of our tornadoes are just waterspouts that come ashore but then we had a terrible tornado a couple of years ago approx 50 miles north of me in enterprise alabama. i love these blogs! you guys are awesome.
Member Since: July 30, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 1448
10. cyclonebuster
6:02 PM GMT on June 11, 2009
Quoting MichTraveler:

Wow, cyclonebuster, I wasn't aware that if you have a blog you also have a duty to answer all readers' questions in full. I understand that this blog is here to "document" the students' experiences. They have most likely been very busy lately - give them a break! I am enjoying reading about their ventures.


I enjoy their ventures also! I also like reading about them. The reason for a blog is to blog about the blog. This is a research project and if they want to research about how tornados form then they best study my tunnels as they will regulate SSTs and therefore severe weather,tornados,hurricanes and climate. Computer modeling of them will prove it. Any bets? I will wager one whopper one large fry and a large coke.
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20221
9. MichTraveler
4:45 PM GMT on June 11, 2009
Quoting cyclonebuster:
Mike Texter,

As a senior in Earth Systems Science and Engineering-Meteorology
Atmospheric, Oceanic, and Space Sciences, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor it is your duty to answer my question in full. Also can you computer model the effects my Tunnels will have on severe weather,tornadoes, hurricanes and climate?

Wow, cyclonebuster, I wasn't aware that if you have a blog you also have a duty to answer all readers' questions in full. I understand that this blog is here to "document" the students' experiences. They have most likely been very busy lately - give them a break! I am enjoying reading about their ventures.
8. cyclonebuster
4:01 PM GMT on June 11, 2009
Quoting upweatherdog:
Very cool pics!



In Florida, high humidity and warm temperatures help build up extreme instability. Sea breezes provide lift for very large thunderstorms to develop. However, the main jetstream is well to the north, so shear is relativly weak. Weak shear prevents strong rotation in storms, therefore large tornados are rare.

However, with such plentiful warm, moist air, thunderstorms develop very strong updrafts. Strong updrafts are very prone to rotation, even when shear is weak or sea breezes collide. That is why central Florida has many tornados, but most of them are weak.


Don't forget temperature differential.
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20221
7. upweatherdog
3:55 PM GMT on June 11, 2009
Very cool pics!

Quoting twhcracker:
wow. very interesting to be able to have findings showing why a tornado formed or didn't form because that cell sure looks like a monster! also interesting to me is why we seem to have huge cells like that in Florida yet our tornadoes overall are much weaker. generally. Your work is so incredibly valuable. Thank you.


In Florida, high humidity and warm temperatures help build up extreme instability. Sea breezes provide lift for very large thunderstorms to develop. However, the main jetstream is well to the north, so shear is relativly weak. Weak shear prevents strong rotation in storms, therefore large tornados are rare.

However, with such plentiful warm, moist air, thunderstorms develop very strong updrafts. Strong updrafts are very prone to rotation, even when shear is weak or sea breezes collide. That is why central Florida has many tornados, but most of them are weak.
Member Since: October 14, 2007 Posts: 173 Comments: 1371
6. cyclonebuster
3:47 PM GMT on June 11, 2009
Mike Texter,

As a senior in Earth Systems Science and Engineering-Meteorology
Atmospheric, Oceanic, and Space Sciences, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor it is your duty to answer my question in full. Also can you computer model the effects my Tunnels will have on severe weather,tornadoes, hurricanes and climate?
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20221
5. twhcracker
1:17 PM GMT on June 11, 2009
wow. very interesting to be able to have findings showing why a tornado formed or didn't form because that cell sure looks like a monster! also interesting to me is why we seem to have huge cells like that in Florida yet our tornadoes overall are much weaker. generally. Your work is so incredibly valuable. Thank you.
Member Since: July 30, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 1448
4. cyclonebuster
12:13 PM GMT on June 11, 2009
Hello,

Mike Texter
Senior in Earth Systems Science and Engineering-Meteorology
Atmospheric, Oceanic, and Space Sciences, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor

Question for you Mike. What do you think of my Tunnels regulating SSTs in deep western boundry currents such as the Loop Current in the GOMEX and the Gulfstream in order to regulate Earths climate to prevent severe weather,tornadoes and hurricanes if we want them to?
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20221
3. lawntonlookers
12:04 PM GMT on June 11, 2009
Thanks for sharing the pictures and talking about your adventure.
Member Since: March 22, 2006 Posts: 9 Comments: 1570
2. aquak9
9:28 AM GMT on June 11, 2009
Breaking stuff for Science!!! Gotta love it!!
Member Since: August 13, 2005 Posts: 163 Comments: 25511
1. GardenGrrl
6:06 AM GMT on June 11, 2009
Pretty!
Member Since: March 25, 2007 Posts: 244 Comments: 8926

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About Vortex2

This blog documents the experiences of five University of Michigan Atmospheric Oceanic and Space Sciences undergrads participating in VORTEX2.