Follow-up to HWT CI Event in TX Panhandle: Radar Loop

The figure below shows a radar loop of the supercell for 1.5 hours leading up to the time of the tornado.  Notice how the supercell to the WNW of Amarillo, TX develops nearly in place, along the NW edge of the moist soil patch as documented in the previous blog post on this topic.  Prevailing low-level flow was from the SE, which may have led to maximum convergence to the NW of the moist patch, given a “sea breeze-like” circulation due to differential surface heating.  I plan to make some WRF model simulations using the NASA Land Information System to further explore the role of soil moisture patterns in developing the convection in west Texas on this day. (Click twice on the image below to see the radar animation.)

FIG 1. One and a half hour animation of base reflectivity over the Texas Panhandle, valid from 0000 UTC to 0130 UTC 22 May 2012.  Credit: Plymouth State University Weather Center web page.

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