Blog reader "J" (who is not me) emailed me Monday night about a strange severe-looking circulation heading towards Houston, Texas. I investigated this yesterday and believe it to be a great example of a Mesoscale Convective Vortex, a type of low pressure system associated with a group of thunderstorms. Below is a radar from AccuWeather.com RadarPlus; more detailed radar loops can be downloaded* here.
Despite the appearance of severity, MCVs [WikiPedia] are not usually associated with tornadoes, but can serve as the birthplace of future mesoscale convective systems (groups of thunderstorms without the low pressure center) or even tropical storms over water.
Only one spotter report was received by The NWS [JessePedia]: "WHARTON COUNTY: PARKED 18 WHEELER BLOWN DOWN AT HIGHWAY 59 BY LOUISE."
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