Convective storms over Belarus

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On 13 July 2016 a cyclone brought severe weather to the Republic of Belarus.

Close-up of convection over Minsk, Met-10 infrared, 13 July 11.15 UTC
Date & Time
13 July 2016 05:00–15:00 UTC
Infrared, High Resolution Visible (HRV)

By Palina Lapo (Hydromet)

In a trough on the southern periphery of the large cyclone, over Poland and western Ukraine, a new wave cyclone was formed.

The formation of the wave cyclone was due to large temperature gradients between the polar and tropical air masses. In addition, cold advection was observed on the isobaric surface of 850 hPa.

Figure 1: Met-10, 13 July, 12:00 UTC
Airmass RGB
Figure 2: Met-10, 13 July 13:45 UTC

There were big differences in both the temperatures of the airmasses and amount of moisture (humidity) at the high atmospheric level.

Figure 3
Figure 3: Meteosat-10 HRV, 13 July 11:30 UTC

According to the 300 hPa isotachs analysis there was a jet stream, with a speed of 30 m/s, over the northern part of Belarus.

The result of significant contrast in humidity can be seen on Meteosat-10 Airmass imagery (Figure 1), as strong convective clouds on the border of airmasses.

Within hours of the RGB imagery being captured, a strong mesoscale convective storm formed over the north-west part of Belarus, as seen on the infrared imagery (Figure 2).

On the Meteosat-10 High Resolution Visible (HRV) image (Figure 3), overshooting tops can be observed.

Another feature of this mesoscale convective system was the hook-shaped weather radar signature known as a hook echo, seen on the Doppler weather radar Minsk-2 (Figure 4).

Tornadoes and powerful mesocyclones are often characterised by the presence of a hook echo on radar.

Figure 4
Figure 4: Minsk-2 rainfall radar signal, 13 July 11:00 UTC

By the end of the day the convective system had moved to the territory of Russia. It became even larger and was easily recognisable as a U-shaped storm.

The development of the storm can tracked on the infrared animation, 13 July 05:00–15:00 UTC (MP4, 9 MB).

It was the most powerful convective storm over Belarus for a number of years.

According to reports on the European Severe Weather Database (ESWD) it caused tornadoes, large hail and severe winds.

As a result a lot of crops and trees were badly damaged.

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