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Advances in Meteorology
Volume 2018, Article ID 9432670, 24 pages
Research Article

Three-Dimensional Storm Structure and Low-Level Boundaries at Different Stages of Cyclic Mesocyclone Evolution in a High-Precipitation Tornadic Supercell

1School of Meteorology, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK 73072, USA
2Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK 73072, USA
3Advanced Radar Research Center, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK 73072, USA
4National Severe Storms Laboratory, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Weather Center, Norman, OK 73072, USA

Correspondence should be addressed to Michael I. Biggerstaff; ude.uo@relppodrd

Received 31 August 2017; Revised 10 December 2017; Accepted 20 December 2017; Published 13 February 2018

Academic Editor: Stefano Federico

Copyright © 2018 Daniel P. Betten et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Nearly continuous wind retrievals every three minutes for an unprecedented 90-minute period were constructed during multiple mesocyclone cycles in a tornadic high-precipitation supercell. Asymptotic contraction rate analysis revealed the relationship between the primary and secondary rear-flank gust fronts (RFGF and SRFGFs) and the rear-flank downdraft (RFD) and occlusion downdrafts. This is thought to be the first radar-based analysis where the relationship between the near-surface gust fronts and their parent downdrafts has been explored for sequential mesocyclones. Changes in the SRFGFs were associated with surges in the RFD. During part of the mesocyclone lifecycle, the SRFGF produced a band of low-level convergence and associated deep updraft along the southwestern side of the hook echo region that ingested the RFD outflow and limited both entrainment into the RFD and reinforcement of low-level convergence along the leading edge of the primary RFGF. The second mesocyclone intensified from stretching in an occlusion updraft rather than in the primary updraft. This low-level mesocyclone remained well separated from the updraft shear region vorticity that was associated with a more traditional midlevel mesocyclone. However, the third mesocyclone initiated in the vorticity-rich region of the primary updraft zone and was amplified by stretching in the primary updraft.