Mexican Cyclic Supercell

Laughlin AFB Storm-relative Velocity Loop

(0.5 deg elevation, 1 km NIDS imagery)

This loop runs from 0520Z (11:20 p.m. CST) to 0640Z (12:40 a.m. CST), on the night of March 21-22, 2000. The loop has 10 frames totalling 250 kB; so it may take several minutes to load on a slow connection. Once loaded, you can stop the loop, go to the beginning, then step forward frame-by-frame.

This loop shows most of the life cycle of the large mesocyclone in Mexico, including the time period from 0540-0550 UTC (11:40-11:50 pm CST) when it had very intense winds of more than 50 knots (58 mph) toward and away from the radar -- and over 100 knots (116 mph) gate to gate shear. The warm colors are outbounds (winds blowing from the northeast, away from the radar); and the cool colros are inbounds (winds blowing from the southwest, toward the radar). The strongest part of the mesocyclone is where the brightest red and brightest blue are right beside each other. While followign the track of the mesocyclone, notice its leftard (northward) turn as it approaches the border. This is very common in cyclic supercells -- thunderstorms producing one mesocyclne after another. When looking at track maps of historical long-track tornadoes, one can often see the leftward turns of the paths toward the end, caused by mesocyclone turns like the one here. Unfortunately, because of the desolate terrain and lack of scientific surveying in this part of Mexico, we may never know if there was a tornado there, or how strong it may have been.

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