Long-lived storms

July 14, 2015: Monday morning started with strong to severe thunderstorms that blasted through Rockford. Trees and power lines were knocked over by 60 mph wind gusts.

Limbs (some roughly 3 foot circumference) down at Willwood Burial Park.

Limbs (some roughly 3 foot circumference) down at Willwood Burial Park.

Large tree snapped, roughly 7 foot circumference, Ingersoll Golf Course.

Large tree snapped, roughly 7 foot circumference, Ingersoll Golf Course.

The very impressive thing about these storms is how far they traveled to reach Rockford Monday morning, and how far they traveled after sweeping through the Stateline.

The storm reports from Sunday, July 12. Tornadoes are shown as red dots, while damaging winds are shown as blue dots. The purple circle shows which damage reports are from the July 12 MCS.

The storm reports from Sunday, July 12. Tornadoes are shown as red dots, while damaging winds are shown as blue dots. The purple circle shows which damage reports are from the July 12 MCS. Click on the image to enlarge.

A complex of thunderstorms brewed up in Minnesota the day before on July 12. Tornadoes and damaging winds struck western Minnesota before traveling to the Twin Cities, then the storms raced south across Wisconsin overnight. We call these long-lived clusters of thunderstorms mesoscale convective complexes (or MCS for short).

The storm reports from Sunday, July 13. Damaging winds are shown as blue dots. Note how many and how widespread the wind damage was from this complex of thunderstorms. The purple circle shows which damage reports are from the July 12 MCS. Click on the image to enlarge.

The storm reports from Sunday, July 13. Damaging winds are shown as blue dots. Note how many and how widespread the wind damage was from this complex of thunderstorms. The purple circle shows which damage reports are from the July 12 MCS. Click on the image to enlarge.

After hitting the Rockford area with high winds, hot and humid air continued to feed the line of thunderstorms, producing widespread damaging winds as the storms moved as far east as Virginia without losing intensity!

Radar image from the evening of July 13. You can see the complex wasn't done with severe weather yet, traveling over 1,000 miles from its start in Minnesota. Click on the image to enlarge.

Radar image from the evening of July 13. You can see the complex (the large crescent of storms in Virginia and North Carolina) wasn’t done with severe weather yet, traveling over 1,000 miles from its start in Minnesota. Click on the image to enlarge.

This MCS was able to travel over 1,000 miles and lasted over 24 hours before finally fizzling out late last night.   MCS’s can hold together for many hours in a row, but it is a little unusual to see one stay as strong as it did for such a long time!

– Alex

 

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This post was written by Alex Kirchner on July 14, 2015

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