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Analysis of a left moving supercell that produced giant hail across northeast South Carolina
  • Published Date:
    2014
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Analysis of a left moving supercell that produced giant hail across northeast South Carolina
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    United States, National Weather Service,
  • Description:
    On 10 May 2011, a rare left moving supercell developed from a storm split and tracked across extreme northeast South Carolina producing softball sized hail in the city of Conway. This supercell was part of a much more significant outbreak of severe weather that produced 12 reports of tennis ball sized hail or larger, including 3 reports up to softball sized, making it one of the greatest hail events in the recorded history of northeast South Carolina. Synoptic analysis showed the potential for severe weather several days in advance as the Carolinas were located on the eastern periphery of an upper ridge with little convective inhibition. On the day of the event, examination of the mesoscale parameters indicated the potential for giant hail. Convective available potential energy (CAPE) approached 3000 J kg⁻¹, with nearly 1000 J kg⁻¹ present in the - 10° C to - 30° C (hail growth) layer. Mid-level lapse rates were nearly 8 °C km⁻¹ thanks to the presence of an elevated mixed layer (EML) , and freezing levels were around 13 , 000 ft. Additionally , nearly linear hodographs suggested that splitting storms were possible which made severe hail even more likely since left movers frequently produce giant hail. Even though left moving supercells are known to be giant hail producers, analysis of this specific event showed that the largest hail was caused in part by a merger with an outflow boundary, so forecasters should be alert to mergers in future events to recognize truly giant hail potential.

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