Components Of A Super Cell Thunderstorm

So what makes a super cell thunderstorm so special? It is the way that they are made and what it takes for them occur. It takes three types of air coming together to form these monster cells. The first is the warm moist air rising in from the Gulf of Mexico. Second is the drier air moving in from the desert southwest and the third is the cold air coming in from the Rockies. When all three of these air masses collide we see the increasing chance of a super cell thunderstorm to develop.

The components of a super cell are like this from the forward side of the storm to the rear.

The leading edge usually has what is known as a gust front. This cloud is a horizontal looking cloud that typically rolls horizontally along with moving across the sky. When this cloud moves into the area one can expect the winds to drastically increase in a short amount of time. It is not uncommon to see winds exceed 70mph with this cloud.

The second portion of the super cell is known as the forward flanking downdraft (FFD). In this region of the cell you will see the heaviest bands of precipitation along with the potential of hail.

The third part of the cell is known as the updraft core.

This is where all that air is mixing together. The warm moist air is rising inside and this is known as the central nervous system of the cell.

The back side of the cell is known as the Rear Flanking Downdraft(RFD). In this part of the storm you will usually see mammatus clouds form which look like sinking marshmallows from above. This is the area of the storm where you will find the tornado if the super cell has a tornado in it. This area of the storm is marked the by the downward motion of the air particles.