TITLE

Miniature Supercells in an Offshore Outer Rainband of Hurricane Ivan (2004)

AUTHOR(S)
Eastin, Matthew D.; Link, M. Christopher
PUB. DATE
July 2009
SOURCE
Monthly Weather Review;Jul2009, Vol. 137 Issue 7, p2081
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
Airborne Doppler radar observations are used to document the structure of three miniature supercells embedded in an outer rainband of Hurricane Ivan on 15 September 2004. The cells were located more than 100 km offshore, beyond the Doppler range of coastal radars. The combination of large CAPE, large vertical wind shear, and moderate cell-relative helicity with an apparent midlevel dry air intrusion provided an offshore environment supporting rotating storms. Each shallow cell contained a ∼5–7-km-diameter mesocyclonic updraft with midlevel updraft and vorticity maxima that exceeded 6 m s-1 and 0.008 s-1, respectively. Such offshore structures are consistent with miniature supercells observed onshore in association with tropical cyclone tornado outbreaks. The strong updrafts resulted from a combination of kinematic convergence, thermal instability, and shear-induced vertical perturbation pressure gradients. Mesocyclone production largely resulted from the tilting and subsequent stretching of low-level horizontal streamwise vorticity into the vertical by the strong updrafts. Evidence of baroclinic contributions from inflow along cell-generated outflow boundaries was minimal. The miniature supercells persisted for at least 3 h during transit from offshore to onshore. Tornadoes were reported in association with two cells soon after moving onshore. These observations build upon a growing body of evidence suggesting that miniature supercells often develop offshore in the outer rainbands of tropical cyclones.
ACCESSION #
43591025

 

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