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Visual Vault

Visual Vault

Posted: 04/19/19

Landscapes, Storms

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In radar terms, the vault is a region of a supercell downshear from the updraft (usually to the right of the mesocyclone if standing in the storm's inflow), where large precipitation reflectors like hail arch high over the relatively precip-free inflow air, forming a vaulted reflectivity pattern in cross-section. Very large and damaging hail sometimes does fall from there, and did in this storm. This is a clean view directly into that part of the storm — we can call it the “visual vault” — with the rotating updraft tower at left, the tail cloud below and the forward-flank precip area at right. Seldom is there such a striking example! The storm was more than a great specimen; it also formed a sky sculpture of inspiring beauty above the High Plains landscape of northeastern New Mexico.


Balanced PosesColorado CrawlerAspen RoadVisual VaultStone Beach, Cloudy DayRemembering 3 May 1999Wondrous Storm Light