DISCUSSION: When it comes to anticipating the evolution of severe weather events across the United States of America or any other nation on the planet for that matter, there is no debate that the inherently fluid dynamical aspects of severe weather events can be incredibly complicated, to say the least. Having said that, atmospheric science research has come a long way in being able to find ways to understand the dynamics of various types of severe weather. One of the more complicated forms of severe weather will often come in the form of severe thunderstorms capable of producing tornadoes. The most notorious form of severe weather where there are often concerns for potential tornadic development come by way of severe thunderstorms known as supercell thunderstorms, wherein they are unique by way of the fact that they have a rotating vertical updraft as opposed to a straight (i.e., up and down) vertical updraft structure.
Whether it is behind the desk at a given National Weather Service office or if you are out in the field trying to observe and study storms in real-time, there are a number of different features which can be incredibly hard to diagnose moment to moment, but can often be much easier to study and understand after the event has concluded by way of a time-lapsed video. One such example of a more complicated feature to diagnose in the field on a moment-to-moment basis would be visualizing the presence of an inflow sector feeding into the main updraft of an intensifying severe thunderstorm.
As you can see in the imagery attached above from the Twitter post courtesy of @BenV_, you can clearly see on the left so the image of arrow seems to rise and condense into clouds somewhat rapidly. This process of apparent condensation of moisture into low-level cloud features at the base of the thunderstorm is a direct result of the updraft effectively “sucking” in moisture from the surface to continue fueling the maintenance of the storm’s existence. Thus, when such visual features and overall imagery is time-lapsed over a sufficiently long period of time, this can allow for a more effective diagnosis of strong to severe thunderstorm evolution for any given situation. In this same brief loop of time-lapse storm footage, you can also see how there were several instances reach Bonito tried to and eventually formed on the far-left side of the storm footage clip. Granted, in real-time, the evolution of a developing tornado would be much easier to diagnose in the majority of situations since there often would be a visual manifestation of a condensation funnel and/or dirt being picked up at the surface and being sucked up into the strengthening tornadic circulation.
This just goes to show that although strong to severe storm dynamics can be quite complicated, they are still comprehensible under the right circumstances.
To learn more about other severe weather events and topics from around the world, be sure to click here!
© 2019 Meteorologist Jordan Rabinowitz