E-Journal of Severe Storms Meteorology

E-Journal of Severe Storms Meteorology, Vol 12, No 2 (2017)

Font Size:  Small  Medium  Large

Analysis of Mesovortex Characteristics, Behavior, and Interactions during the Second 30 June-1 July 2014 Midwestern Derecho Event

Anthony W. Lyza, Adam W. Clayton, Kevin R. Knupp, Eric Lenning, Matthew T. Friedlein, Richard L. Castro, Evan S. Bentley


A pair of intense, derecho-producing quasi-linear convective systems (QLCSs) impacted northern Illinois and northern Indiana during the evening hours of 30 June through the predawn hours of 1 July 2014.  The second QLCS trailed the first one by only 250 km and approximately 3 h, yet produced 29 confirmed tornadoes and numerous areas of nontornadic wind damage estimated to be caused by 30‒40 m s‒1 flow.  Much of the damage from the second QLCS was associated with a series of 38 mesovortices, with up to 15 mesovortices ongoing simultaneously.  Many complex behaviors were documented in the mesovortices, including:  a binary (Fujiwhara) interaction, the splitting of a large mesovortex in two followed by prolific tornado production, cyclic mesovortexgenesis in the remains of a large mesovortex, and a satellite interaction of three small mesovortices around a larger parent mesovortex. A detailed radar analysis indicates no definitive differences between tornadic and nontornadic mesovortices. All observed mesovortices were cyclonic, indicating that either the vertical tilting of streamwise vorticity, generation of vortices via the release of horizontal shearing instability, or both were involved in mesovortex genesis. This paper examines the environment ahead of the second QLCS, the characteristics of the mesovortices produced, and the aforementioned complex interactions. It also discusses implications for mesovortex genesis and dynamics as well as operational considerations.

Full Text: PDF

E-Journal of Severe Storms Meteorology | ISSN 1559-5404 | Some Rights Reserved