Relation between Baroclinity, Horizontal Vorticity, and Mesocyclone Evolution in the 6–7 April 2018 Monroe, Louisiana, Tornadic Supercell during VORTEX-SE
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Relation between Baroclinity, Horizontal Vorticity, and Mesocyclone Evolution in the 6–7 April 2018 Monroe, Louisiana, Tornadic Supercell during VORTEX-SE

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  • Journal Title:
    Monthly Weather Review
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    This case study analyzes a tornadic supercell observed in northeast Louisiana as part of the Verification of the Origins of Rotation in Tornadoes Experiment Southeast (VORTEX-SE) on 6–7 April 2018. One mobile research radar (SR1-P), one WSR-88D equivalent (KULM), and two airborne radars (TAFT and TFOR) have sampled the storm at close proximity for ∼70 min through its mature phase, tornadogenesis at 2340 UTC, and dissipation and subsequent ingestion into a developing MCS segment. The 4D wind field and reflectivity from up to four Doppler analyses, combined with 4D diabatic Lagrangian analysis (DLA) retrievals, has enabled kinematic and thermodynamic analysis of storm-scale boundaries leading up to, during, and after the dissipation of the NWS-surveyed EF0 tornado. The kinematic and thermodynamic analyses reveal a transient current of low-level streamwise vorticity leading into the low-level supercell updraft, appearing similar to the streamwise vorticity current (SVC) that has been identified in supercell simulations and previously observed only kinematically. Vorticity dynamical calculations demonstrate that both baroclinity and horizontal stretching play significant roles in the generation and amplification of streamwise vorticity associated with this SVC. While the SVC does not directly feed streamwise vorticity to the tornado–cyclone, its development coincides with tornadogenesis and an intensification of the supercell’s main low-level updraft, although a causal relationship is unclear. Although the mesoscale environment is not high-shear/low-CAPE (HSLC), the updraft of the analyzed supercell shares some similarities to past observations and simulations of HSLC storms in the Southeast United States, most notably a pulse-like updraft that is maximized in the low- to midlevels of the storm. Significance Statement The purpose of this study is to analyze the airflow and thermodynamics of a highly observed tornado-producing supercell. While computer simulations can provide us with highly detailed looks at the complicated evolution of supercells, it is rare, due to the difficulty of data collection, to collect enough data to perform a highly detailed analysis on a particular supercell, especially in the Southeast United States. We identified a “current” of vorticity—rotating wind—that develops at the intersection of the supercell’s rain-cooled outflow and warm inflow, similar to previous simulations. This vorticity current develops and feeds the storm’s updraft as its tornado develops and the storm intensifies, although it does not directly enter the tornado.
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    Monthly Weather Review, 151(11), 2949-2976
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