Sunday, April 3, 2011

Severe Weather Update

Thus far, things seem to be coming along just as expected this evening.  Thunderstorms are forming along and ahead of the cold front from eastern Iowa, southwestward across northwest Missouri and are now forming into the Eastern third of Kansas.

The following Tornado and Severe Thunderstorm Watches are in effect:

I frequently post radar images of ongoing severe storms on the blog, but I don't think I've ever shown a cool visible satellite image (in near real time) of a severe storm, so here goes:

Pretty easy to pick out the thunderstorm activity over northeast Kansas and eastern Iowa.  If you look closely, you can see several "overshooting tops" (noted by the red arrows in the image below):

An overshooting top (see illustrated photograph below) occurs when the strong updraft of a severe thunderstorm pierces through the otherwise "smooth" anvil at the top of the storm, forming a dome like protrusion into the troposphere (which is considered the "top" of the part of the atmosphere that we live in).

Overshooting tops are a strong indicator of large hail production within a severe thunderstorm.  This has indeed been the case so far this evening, with numerous reports of golfball or larger sized hail across southeast Iowa and northeast Kansas.

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