U.S. Department of Commerce


Date of this Version



Atmospheric Research 167 (2016) 249–264


U.S. Government Work


Flash initiations within a supercell cluster during 10–11 May 2010 in Oklahoma were investigated based on observations from the Oklahoma Lightning Mapping Array and the Norman, Oklahoma, polarimetric radar (KOUN). The flash initiations at positions dominated by graupel, dry snow, small hail and crystals accounted for 44.3%, 44.1%, 8.0% and 3.0% of the total flashes, respectively. During the tornadic stage of the southern supercell in the cluster, flash initiations associated with graupel occupied the main body, the right flank and the forward flank of the supercell, while those associated with dry snow dominated the outskirts of the adjacent forward anvil, right anvil and rear anvil. The flash initiations associated with small hail were concentrated around the main updraft, particularly toward its front side. Highly dense flash initiations were located in the regions overlying the differential reflectivity (ZDR) arc and right anvil. The average initial height of the flashes decreased gradually from the rear to the front and from the right to the left flanks, while the height range over which initiations occurred reached a maximumat the front of the updraft. The flashes that were initiated in the adjacent forward anvils were largest on average, followed by those in the regions ahead of the updraft and near the ZDR arc. This study supports the concept of charge pockets and further deduces that the pockets in the right anvil are the most abundant and compact due to the frequent flash initiations, small-sized flashes and thin layers including flash initiations.