Pre-frontal Discrete Cells & Storm Energy

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Mar 23, 2013
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Denver, CO
I was having this discussion with @BobSchafer yesterday and was looking for more thoughts, expertise/science and opinions on this matter. I would try to rely Bob's consenus but I know it would be inaccurate or incomplete, so if he wants to jump in here and relay his thoughts, that'd be great as I can't remember all of what he said and he will say it better than I ever could.


While chasing on Thursday, the thunderstorms to my west went linear, so I dove South and focused on the two discrete cells to my South and Southwest (Sublette and Moscow, KS).
radar.jpg

I have heard from some chasers that discrete cells out ahead of the front will have their own isolated energy away from the line. I have also heard in general chasers circles that usually in the case of 2 discrete cells as in my radar image above (apologies for no cities being on the screenshot to better id the location, but my gps locator ring is in Garden City, KS at that exact moment. Now it did seem like those 2 cells had much more going on than anything in that line did. Better structure, much more inflow and seemingly their own isolated energy.

Is there any science to this? Are the prefontral discrete cells more powerful and have a tendency to be better producers of structure and tornados as opposed to thunderstorms in the line?

To explain my rationale for sticking with the Sublette storm, I chose the cell further to the EAST (directly over Sublette) as opposed to the Moscow storm because 1.) It was more prominent on the radar and 2.) I was thinking there was a chance that the Sublette storm might take a hard right turn.

Which brings us to another facet of my question. Will a discrete cell that is in the close vicinty to another cell and takes a hard right (SE turn) have a better probability or likelihood of producing a tornado as opposed to the cell to it's west or southwest? Is there science to this? Or is this just chaser folklore?

One of the reasons I ask here is I notice I seem to always come up short of seeing the good stuff, so I'd like to expand upon my decision making while out chasing. Thursday was a textbook example of missing the amazing structure in Satanta/Moscow, KS. Instead I ended up on a dying supercell in Sublette.

Thanks in advance and I'm interested to read the responses here.
 
Jun 1, 2008
530
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Chattanooga, TN
www.linkedin.com
The Sublette storm was the right call, in my opinion. Did Moscow produce? Either way I'd go Sublette 9/10 times.

You are right about the isolated cells. Part of it is energy. Storm can hog it all. Perhaps more important is access to the low level jet LLJ. In some cases the lead storm cuts off the LLJ to back storms, but only if it's directly in the path. Broken line of sups can share if they don't cut off each other. At any rate, the LLJ is very important to achieve the level of shear required for our purposes.

South end of a line is/was the mantra. However it comes with caveats. I favor intersecting boundaries, which is usually not south-end. However I don't want to be on the north end if it's in the cool sector. Sometimes east is more important than south to get away from outflow and/or get access to the LLJ.

Right movers are strongly favored for chasers. In theory their storm relative shear is enhanced by turning into the LLJ. If a split, give it time to organize. If a mature sup is turning right, I hope you're already on it!

It's been a rough year. Perhaps all our luck will improve soon.
 
Mar 23, 2013
327
159
11
Denver, CO
The Sublette storm was the right call, in my opinion. Did Moscow produce? Either way I'd go Sublette 9/10 times.

You are right about the isolated cells. Part of it is energy. Storm can hog it all. Perhaps more important is access to the low level jet LLJ. In some cases the lead storm cuts off the LLJ to back storms, but only if it's directly in the path. Broken line of sups can share if they don't cut off each other. At any rate, the LLJ is very important to achieve the level of shear required for our purposes.

South end of a line is/was the mantra. However it comes with caveats. I favor intersecting boundaries, which is usually not south-end. However I don't want to be on the north end if it's in the cool sector. Sometimes east is more important than south to get away from outflow and/or get access to the LLJ.

Right movers are strongly favored for chasers. In theory their storm relative shear is enhanced by turning into the LLJ. If a split, give it time to organize. If a mature sup is turning right, I hope you're already on it!

It's been a rough year. Perhaps all our luck will improve soon.
thanks Jeff

yes the Moscow storm was beautiful both before and after the Sublette cell died, although I don’t believe it produced a tornado, but I could be wrong.

 
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Jun 1, 2008
530
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Chattanooga, TN
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Quincy nailed that structure shot! So the front storm died while the back one continued? Sounds like the front storm banged into a cap or otherwise lower quality environment. Every situation is different. If favorable parameters, the front cell is usually the best. Cheers!