Roger's SkyPix

The Majestic Supercell

Splitting Storm 1

Splitting Storm

In the bottom shot, the storm at right is the left mover, and vice versa. This is because we tag storm motion based on the storm's own "view" (storm-relative). It's like viewing the left side of a person's face, which is to our right. Many supercells split, especially early in their lifetimes. Even though this storm started small (left), it had no problem dividing itself in two like some giant protozoan, thanks to surrounding winds that supported both leftward and rightward moving storms. The reasons for storm splits involve concepts of fluid dynamics -- both in the original storm and its environment -- that I won't bludgeon you with here. But in the northern hemisphere, the left movers tend to spin clockwise (anticyclonic) and the right movers turn counterclockwise (cyclonic). In this case, the resulting mirror-image supercells both survived; but as usually happens, the right split had access to stronger storm-relative inflow and shear, and lasted longer. Another (cyclonic) supercell would develop from the separate anvil cloud in the distant left, becoming our primary target for the rest of the afternoon and giving us some grand structural views.

3 E Corn OK (30 Mar 8), looking W

Splitting Storm 2