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    Jesse Ferrell

    MCC Leaves Trail of Destruction Through Carolinas

    By Jesse Ferrell, Meteorologist/Community Director
    5/11/2011, 11:12:12 AM

    After a sea-breeze front helped spark severe thunderstorms yesterday evening on the Carolina coasts, a large thunderstorm complex (known as an MCC - Mesoscale Convective Complex) moved over the area, leaving a trail of large hail and wind damage reports from Ohio to the Carolina coast.


    lsr511a

    Here's what the entire system looked like as it cruised through (wait for it... this is a radar, then radar/sat, then enhanced radar/sat animation, each shown twice):

    But of all the hail reports, the most severe came yesterday evening, before the MCC approached. This was when supercell severe thunderstorms broke out on the South Carolina (and southern North Carolina) coasts.


    rad511a


    These beasts looked like something out of Tornado Alley and sparked 3 spotter reports of softball-sized hail (4.5 inches in diameter!)


    hail511annot

    By late in the evening, the supercells had multiplied into what appeared to be a "hand-of-death":


    rad511bhandofdeath


    But perhaps most beautiful of all on the weather maps was the MCC. It dropped nearly 70,000 lightning strikes in the Carolina area overnight:


    ltg511b

    Here's a radar closeup at 2:13 AM, when it began to develop a vortex (MCV):


    rad511cmcv


    You can see on the radar/satellite shot that it's really the clouds spreading out, not the rain, that becomes circular in an MCC.


    radsat511a


    The cloud tops are high, and hence cold, as shown in this enhanced Infrared satellite map:


    sat511a


    (The MCC and sea-breeze front classifications were confirmed by NWS).

    The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or AccuWeather.com

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    Jesse Ferrell