SEVERE WEATHER 101: What Does MCS Mean?

DangerousShelfCloudMCS is an abbreviation you are probably going to hear a lot about this summer and almost any summer for that matter. So before we talk about the coming weather, we wanted to offer a new Severe Weather 101 Course on what exactly MCS stands for.

An MCS, to put it simply, is the traditional life cycle of a long duration thunderstorm event. It begins with the initial development. That’s where large hail and strong winds as well as tornadoes are possible. Eventually, these isolated or discrete supercells eventually form a large and complex line of thunderstorms. Often times this happens shortly after sunset.

542px-Bow_echo_diagram_svgThat’s when the storms can become a bit more elevated and begin to race, bringing with them widespread damaging winds and still some large hail. An isolated tornado cannot be ruled out but often times they are brief and weak. Eventually, these storms will begin to slow down and train over the same area. When all is said and done, you get a full plate of severe weather modes across a wide area. Initially you get the stronger, potentially tornado producing storms, followed by a large line of thunderstorms capable of destructive winds. And finally, the heavy rain which can produce flash flooding over a given area.

These types of events are common in the summer, with a lot more energy available for storm systems to maintain their intensity through the overnight hours.

One Comment

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: