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An overview of the 29 May 2012 Kingfisher supercell during DC3

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Abstract

On 29–30 May 2012, the Deep Convective Clouds and Chemistry experiment observed a supercell thunderstorm on the southern end of a broken line of severe storms in Oklahoma. This study focuses on an approximately 70 min period during which three mobile Doppler radars operated and a balloon-borne electric field meter, radiosonde, and particle imager flew through the storm. An overview of the relationships among flash rates, very high frequency (VHF) source densities, and Doppler-radar-derived storm parameters is presented. Furthermore, the evolution of the flash distribution relative to the midlevel storm's kinematics and microphysics is examined at two times during a period of rapid storm intensification. The timing of increases in VHF counts in the 8–10 km above ground level (agl) layer, which contained the largest VHF source counts, is similar to the timing of increases in updraft mass flux, in updraft volume, and in graupel volume at approximately 5–9 km agl. Although some increases in VHF source counts had little or no corresponding increase in one or more of the other storm parameters, at least one other parameter had an increase near the time of every VHF increase, a pattern which suggests a common dependence on updraft pulses, as expected from the noninductive graupel-ice electrification mechanism. A classic bounded weak lightning region was observed initially during storm intensification, but late in the period it appeared to be due to a wake in the flow around the updraft, rather than due to a precipitation cascade around the updraft core as is usually observed.

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