The Value of Volunteer Observations for Tracking Heavy Rain in Mesoscale Convective Systems

  • By Ted Best
  • Dec 18, 2020

Photo: Ryan De Hamer

In his book, Cloud Dynamics, Robert Houze quotes Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn:

“The fifth night below St. Louis, we had a big storm after midnight, with the power of thunder and lightning, and the rain poured down in a solid sheet.”  (Houze, Cloud Dynamics, Academic Press, 1993). The likelihood is that Twain's story was recounting a common occurrence in the Midwest summer: what we know today as the mesoscale convective system or MCS, a conglomeration of thunderstorms that often reach a peak in the middle of the night.

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