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Supercell Thunderstorms

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Definition:

Supercell thunderstorms are the grandest thunderstorms of them all. These storms can produce violent tornadoes and several tornado events at once. The secret of the ability of a supercell thunderstorm to produce a tornado is in the updraft.

The updraft in these storms is very intense and will often produce rotation. Hence, these storms can produce twisters of unparalleled intensity. Unlike multicell thunderstorms, the supercell is one very large and very intense thunderstorm cell.

As the updraft in a supercell continues its vertical ascent, other horizontal winds in the atmosphere can determine the extent of the vertical ascent of the air. These horizontal winds are known as wind shear. As the updraft continues, low wind shear creates weak and/or short-duration storms. This is because there is less warm air being brought into the storm. If wind shear is greater, the supply of warm and humid air increases making the storm last longer by increasing the building stage of the thunderstorm.

Also Known As: Supercells

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