Supercell Types

posted in: Michigan Weather Forecast | 20

There are three types of supercell thunderstorms: Classic supercells, HP (high precipitation) supercells, and LP (low precipitation supercells). Low level moisture and the value of precipitable water (PW) strongly determines which type of supercell a severe thunderstorm will be. LP supercells in the U.S. primarily occur in the Lee of the Rockies while HP supercells are common in the Eastern Great Plains and eastward. Classic supercells are most common in the Great Plains. The type of severe weather to expect from each of these supercell types is given below:

LP supercells: (feature Image)  STRONG STRAIGHT-LINE WINDS (due to a high amount of evaporative cooling as precipitation evaporates into surrounding low and mid-level dry air). LARGE HAIL (low amount of moisture results in a small water loading of the updraft, low PW values (less than 1.00 inch) allows the updraft to be stronger than it otherwise would have been if PW values were high). I have seen cases were an LP supercell produced baseball size hail and no other precipitation. TORNADOES (tornadoes tend to be weaker in association with LP supercells as compared to other supercell types because the forward flank downdraft and rear flank downdrafts are not as well defined and the storm is higher based). Tornadoes, if they do occur, are very visible due to the light amount of precip. LP supercells tend to be higher based than the other supercell types because air must rise to a higher level in the troposphere in order for condensation to occur.

Classic supercells: Give the best indication of a hook echo on Doppler radar. Classic supercells have varying degrees of hail size, tornado strength, and strength of straight-line wind. CAPE (how unstable the atmosphere is) along with PW, freezing level and elevation determines how large hail will grow. Dry air in the mid-levels (large dewpoint depression) along with moisture in the PBL (high dewpoints) result in strong straight-line wind and convective instability. Strong low level speed and directional shear along with high CAPE form a favorable environment for tornadoes.

HP supercells: Have a kidney bean shaped appearance on Doppler radar. These are often termed rain wrapped supercells. Tornadoes are generally more deadly when they are rain wrapped since their approach is unknown until they are right on top of you. Hail tends to be smaller in association with HP supercells than in association with the other supercell types because:
1) CAPE is reduced due to intense water loading
2) freezing levels tend to be higher and elevations lower in association with HP’s (compare high plains to Southeast U.S.). Strong straight-line winds are not as common with HP’s since moisture extends through a higher depth in the atmosphere. Evaporative cooling and negative buoyancy are lower because the dewpoint depression in the lower and middle troposphere tend to be lower (dewpoints higher).


There are blizzard warnings in place for a good portion of South Dakota, western Nebraska and western Minnesota. Total snow accumulations of 15 to 23 inches and ice accumulations of a light glaze are expected. Winds gusts as high as 50 mph are forecast.  This will be the heavy wet type as temps will be in the 30s.

For SW Michigan Wednesday through Friday will bring a mixed bag of interesting weather:  storms (mainly Thursday night) , freezing rain, some snow and cooler temps.  At this point the models are pointing to the highest snowfall amounts along the I96 corridor.


In case you haven’t noticed I have been slowly adding content to the site: more pages and an updated front page:  blog postings are on the top of the page and the local forecasts below where I have more info in tabbed format.  I work at trying to present all the formats of computers, tablets and phones to be visually pleasing, however cell phones are frustrating because of their size and formatting for them can create issues for the rest of the devices used.  I don’t know how people can use them for stuff other that phone calls 🙄 .

With the storm season coming I want to have enough info in place to provide my users with helpful info….


 

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Andy WBarry in ZeelandMark(East Lansing)Mr. NegativeMichaelV Recent comment authors
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Rocky (Rockford)
Rocky (Rockford)

WWA for Kent county with accumulating snow! How is that possible? Mookie said no accumulating snow! Incredible!

Andy W
Andy W

But you predicted 8 inches of snow and they have issued a WWA for less than 1” of snow and the possibility of freezing rain! Hope you enjoy your snowshoeing through the mud tomorrow, it’s going to be beautiful!

INDY
INDY

Tigers looking like there old self’s today Zimmerman stunk …. Getting killed just the start of a crazzy week ahead of weather..INDY!

Mark(East Lansing)
Mark(East Lansing)

This is an impressive presentation about the last bomb cyclone from the Albuquerque NWS:

https://noaa.maps.arcgis.com/apps/Cascade/index.html?appid=373f768d438046dba729395b27643fcd

Barry in Zeeland
Barry in Zeeland

That is one of the coolest presentations I’ve ever seen!

Mark (East Lansing)
Mark (East Lansing)

I know, right? Why can’t NWS GR do stuff like that?

Mr. Negative
Mr. Negative

MV…your posts are very informative, learning tools. Unfortunately, Ada, MI is the absolute wrong place to witness/enjoy fascinating storms. It’s currently 80 with a strong breeze on Clearwater Beach. You guys/gals keep a handle on things “up there” for a while.

INDY
INDY

52* degrees out at thee YARDofBRICKS not a bad day but again the wind is chilly..
INDY!

Slim

With this being April and the start of the 2019 baseball season it is now time to point out that this team we have some players in Left field, some in Right field some in Center field and maybe one or so in Southfield. It is sunny and 51 here at my house, I now have Crocus, Daffodils, and Hyacinths in bloom. And with the rain the grass is now turning green so all in all spring is showing its self around here, BTW there are still some parking lots snow piles left as well. If we do get any… Read more »

INDY
INDY

It’s going to feel like Winter again around west Michigan starting tomorrow our transaction to Spring is going well into April for some reason my furnace is running this morning I have to check on that it looks sunny outside? Is it cold again? Pretty big storm coming looks like the timing is off again for any good thunderstorm development …Have a good Tuesday ohh and Go Tigers!! First place is on the line today in the D…INDY!

Mookie
Mookie

Compared to last year at this time when we were in the teens and 30’s and 40’s, my furnace has been off and my windows have been open in the afternoons. So nice!

Mark (East Lansing)
Mark (East Lansing)

Don’t jinx them!😬

Their bats stink but their pitching has been outstanding.

Rocky (Rockford)
Rocky (Rockford)

Get ready for cold, wind, snow, freezing rain and rain!

Mookie
Mookie

The last 3 days have been extremely warm and perfect and the only thing you’ve talked about is a tiny bit of snow that will melt in hours. Extreme cold weather bias!

Rocky (Rockford)
Rocky (Rockford)

More lies and fake news. I have commented about the nice weekend weather and going golfing! Get real and face the facts!

Mark (East Lansing)
Mark (East Lansing)

I have enjoyed these educational posts.

Slim

Once again very good information MV.
If this mid week storm system becomes as strong as some model are indicating there could be some record snow fall amounts in South Dakota. For the most part we will be on the warm side of this system and I am surprised that there is even snow in our forecast,
Slim