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A supercell is a thunderstorm characterized by the presence of a mesocyclone: a deep, persistently rotating updraft.[1] For this reason, these storms are sometimes referred to as rotating thunderstorms.[2] Of the four classifications of thunderstorms (supercell, squall line, multi-cell, and single-cell), supercells are the overall least common and have the potential to be the most severe. Supercells are often isolated from other thunderstorms, and can dominate the local weather up to 32 kilometres (20 mi) away. They tend to last 2–4 hours.

Supercells are often put into three classification types: classic (Normal precipitation level), low-precipitation (LP), and high-precipitation (HP). LP supercells are usually found in climates that are more arid, such as the high plains of the United States, and HP supercells are most often found in moist climates. Supercells can occur anywhere in the world under the right pre-existing weather conditions, but they are most common in the Great Plains of the United States in an area known as Tornado Alley and in the Tornado Corridor of Argentina, Uruguay and southern Brazil.

In 2009, on the night of Monday May 25, a supercell formed over Belgium. It was described by Belgian meteorologist Frank Deboosere as "one of the worst storms in recent years" and caused much damage in Belgium - mainly in the provinces of East Flanders (around Ghent), Flemish Brabant (around Brussels) and Antwerp. The storm occurred between about 1:00am and 4:00am local time. An incredible 30,000 lightning flashes were recorded in 2 hours - including 10,000 cloud-to-ground strikes. Hailstones up to 6 centimetres (2.4 in) across were observed in some places and wind gusts over 90 km/h (56 mph); in Melle near Ghent a gust of 101 km/h (63 mph) was reported. Trees were uprooted and blown onto several motorways. In Lillo (east of Antwerp) a loaded goods train was blown from the rail tracks.[31][32]

On August 18, 2011, the rock festival Pukkelpop in Kiewit, Hasselt (Belgium) may have been seized by a supercell with mesocyclone around 18:15. Tornado-like winds were reported, trees of over 30 centimetres (12 in) diameter were felled and tents came down. Severe hail scourged the campus. Five people reportedly died and over 140 people were injured. One more died a week later. The event was suspended. Buses and trains were mobilised to bring people home.

On June 28, 2012, three supercells affected England. T

Supercells occur commonly from March to May in Bangladesh, West Bengal, and the bordering northeastern Indian states including Tripura. Supercells that produce very high winds with hail and occasional tornadoes are observed in these regions. They also occur along the Northern Plains of India and Pakistan. On March 23, 2013, a massive tornado ripped through Brahmanbaria district in Bangladesh, killing 20 and injuring 200.[22]

On New Year's Day 1947 a supercell hit Sydney. The HP type Supercell formed over the Blue Mountains, mid-morning hitting the lower CBD and eastern suburbs by mid-afternoon with the hail similar in size to a cricket ball. At the time, it was the most severe storm to strike the city since recorded observations began in 1792.[23]

On April 14, 1999, a severe storm later classified as a supercell hit the east coast of New South Wales. It is estimated that the storm dropped 500,000 tonnes (490,000 long tons; 550,000 short tons) worth of hailstones during its course. At the time it was the most costly disaster in Australia's insurance history, causing an approximated A$2.3 billion worth of damage, of which A$1.7 billion was covered by insurance.

On February 27, 2007, a supercell hit Canberra, dumping nearly thirty-nine centimetres (15 inches) of ice in Civic. The ice was so heavy that a newly built shopping center's roof collapsed, birds were killed in the hail produced from the supercell, and people were stranded. The following day many homes in Canberra were subjected to flash flooding, caused either by the city's infrastructure's inability to cope with storm water or through mud slides from cleared land.a severe storm later classified as a supercell hit the east coast of New South Wales. It is estimated that the storm dropped 500,000 tonnes (490,000 long tons; 550,000 short tons) worth of hailstones during its course. At the time it was the most costly disaster in Australia's insurance history, causing an approximated A$2.3 billion worth of damage, of which A$1.7 billion was covered by insurance.

On February 27, 2007, a supercell hit Canberra, dumping nearly thirty-nine centimetres (15 inches) of ice in Civic. The ice was so heavy that a newly built shopping center's roof collapsed, birds were killed in the hail produced from the supercell, and people were stranded. The following day many homes in Canberra were subjected to flash flooding, caused either by the city's infrastructure's inability to cope with storm water or through mud slides from cleared land.[24]

On 6 March 2010, supercell storms hit Melbourne. The storms caused flash flooding in the center of the city and tennis ball-sized (10 cm or 4 in) hailstones hit cars and buildings, causing more than $220 million worth of damage and sparking 40,000-plus insurance claims. In just 18 minutes, 19 cm (7.5 in) of rain fell, causing havoc as streets were flooded and trains, planes, and cars were brought to a standstill.[25]

That same month, on March 22, 2010 a supercell hit Perth. This storm was one of the worst in the city's history, causing hail stones of 6 centimetres (2.4 in) in size and torrential rain. The city had its average March rainfall in just seven minutes during the storm. Hail stones caused severe property damage, from dented cars to smashed windows.[26] The storm itself caused more than 100 million dollars in damage.[27]

On November 27, 2014 a supercell hit the inner city suburbs including the CBD of Brisbane. Hailstones up to softball size cut power to 71,000 properties, injuring 39 people,[28] and causing a damage bill of $1 billion AUD.[29] A wind gust of 141 km/h was recorded at Archerfield Airport [30]

An area in South America known as the Tornado Corridor is considered to be the second most frequent location for severe weather, after Tornado Alley in the United States.[citation needed] The region, which covers portions of Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Brazil during the spring and summer, often experiences strong thunderstorms which may include tornadoes. One of the first known South American supercell thunderstorms to include tornadoes occurred on September 16, 1816 and destroyed the town of Rojas (240 kilometres (150 mi) west of the city of Buenos Aires).[citation needed]

On September 20, 1926, an EF4 tornado struck the city of Encarnación (Paraguay), killing over 300 people and making it the second deadliest tornado in South America. On 21 April 1970, the town of Fray Marcos in the Department of Florida, Uruguay experienced an F4 tornado that killed 11, the strongest in the his

On September 20, 1926, an EF4 tornado struck the city of Encarnación (Paraguay), killing over 300 people and making it the second deadliest tornado in South America. On 21 April 1970, the town of Fray Marcos in the Department of Florida, Uruguay experienced an F4 tornado that killed 11, the strongest in the history of the nation. January 10, 1973 saw the most severe tornado in the history of South America: The San Justo tornado, 105 km north of the city of Santa Fe (Argentina), was rated EF5, making it the strongest tornado ever recorded in the southern hemisphere, with winds exceeding 400 km/h. On April 13, 1993, in less than 24 hours in the province of Buenos Aires was given the largest tornado outbreak in the history of South America. There were more than 300 tornadoes recorded, with intensities between F1 and F3. The most affected towns were Henderson (EF3), Urdampilleta (EF3) and Mar del Plata (EF2). In December 2000, a series of twelve tornadoes (only registered) affected the Greater Buenos Aires and the province of Buenos Aires, causing serious damage. One of them struck the town of Guernica, and, just two weeks later, in January 2001, an EF3 again devastated Guernica, killing 2 people.

The December 26, 2003 Tornado F3 happened in Cordoba, with winds exceeding 300 km/h, which hit Córdoba Capital, just 6 km from the city center, in the area known as CPC Route 20, especially neighborhoods of San Roque and Villa Fabric, killing 5 people and injuring hundreds. The tornado that hit the State of São Paulo in 2004 was one of the most destructive in the state, destroying several industrial buildings, 400 houses, killing one and wounding 11. The tornado was rated EF3, but many claim it was a tornado EF4. In November 2009, four tornadoes, rated F1 and F2 reached the town of Posadas (capital of the province of Misiones, Argentina), generating serious damage in the city. Three of the tornadoes affected the airport area, causing damage in Barrio Belén. On April 4, 2012, the Gran Buenos Aires was hit by the storm Buenos Aires, with intensities F1 and F2, which left nearly 30 dead in various locations.

On February 21, 2014, in Berazategui (province of Buenos Aires), a tornado of intensity F1 caused material damage including a car was, with two occupants inside, which was elevated a few feet off the ground and flipped over asphalt, both the driver and his passenger were slightly injured. The tornado caused no fatalities. The severe weather that occurred on Tuesday 8/11 had features rarely seen in such magnitude in Argentina. In many towns of La Pampa, San Luis, Buenos Aires and Cordoba, intense hail stones fell up to 6 cm in diameter. On Sunday December 8, 2013, severe storms took place in the center and the coast. The most affected province was Córdoba, storms and supercells type "bow echos" also developed in Santa Fe and San Luis.

In 2009, on the night of Monday May 25, a supercell formed over Belgium. It was described by Belgian meteorologist Frank Deboosere as "one of the worst storms in recent years" and caused much damage in Belgium - mainly in the provinces of East Flanders (around Ghent), Flemish Brabant (around Brussels) and Antwerp. The storm occurred between about 1:00am and 4:00am local time. An incredible 30,000 lightning flashes were recorded in 2 hours - including 10,000 cloud-to-ground strikes. Hailstones up to 6 centimetres (2.4 in) across were observed in some places and wind gusts over 90 km/h (56 mph); in Melle near Ghent a gust of 101 km/h (63 mph) was reported. Trees were uprooted and blown onto several motorways. In Lillo (east of Antwerp) a loaded goods train was blown from the rail tracks.[31][32]

On August 18, 2011, the rock festival Pukkelpop in Kiewit, Hasselt (Belgium) may have been seized by a supercell with mesocyclone around 18:15. Tornado-like winds were reported, trees of over 30 centimetres (12 in) diameter were felled and tents came down. Severe hail scourged the campus. Five people reportedly died and over 140 p

On August 18, 2011, the rock festival Pukkelpop in Kiewit, Hasselt (Belgium) may have been seized by a supercell with mesocyclone around 18:15. Tornado-like winds were reported, trees of over 30 centimetres (12 in) diameter were felled and tents came down. Severe hail scourged the campus. Five people reportedly died and over 140 people were injured. One more died a week later. The event was suspended. Buses and trains were mobilised to bring people home.

On June 28, 2012, three supercells affected England. Two of them formed over the Midlands, producing hailstones reported to be larger than golfballs, with conglomerate stones up to 10 cm across. Burbage in Leicestershire saw some of the most severe hail. Another supercell produced a tornado near Sleaford, in Lincolnshire.

A third supercell affected the North East region of England. The storm struck the Tyneside area directly and without warning during evening rush hour causing widespread damage and travel chaos, with people abandoning cars and being trapped due to lack of public transport. Flooded shopping malls were evacuated, Newcastle station was shut, as was the Tyne & Wear Metro, and main road routes were flooded leading to massive tailbacks. 999 land line services were knocked out in some areas and the damage ran to huge amounts only visible the next day after water cleared. Many parts of County Durham and Northumberland were also affected, with thousands of homes across the North East left without power due to lightning strikes. Lightning was seen to hit the Tyne Bridge (Newcastle).

On 25 July 2019 a supercell thunderstorm affected northern England and parts of Northumberland. Large hail, frequent lightning and rotation were reported by many people. On 24 September 2020 a similar event affected parts of West Yorkshire.[33]

In Europe, the mini-supercell, or low-topped supercell, is very common, especially when showers and thunderstorms develop in cooler polar air masses with a strong jet stream above, especially in the left exit-region of a jetstreak.

The Tornado Alley is a region of the central United States where severe weather is common, particularly tornadoes. Supercell thunderstorms can affect this region at any time of the year, but they are most common in the spring. Tornado watches and warnings are frequently necessary in the spring and summer. Most places from the Great Plains to the East Coast of the United States and north as far as the Canadian Prairies, the Great Lakes region, and the St. Lawrence River will experience one or more supercells each year.[citation needed]

Gainesville, Georgia was the site of the fifth deadliest tornado in U.S. history in 1936, where Gainesville was devastated

Gainesville, Georgia was the site of the fifth deadliest tornado in U.S. history in 1936, where Gainesville was devastated and 203 people were killed.[34]

The 1980 Grand Island tornado outbreak affected the city of Grand Island, Nebraska on June 3, 1980. Seven tornadoes touched down in or near the city that night, killing 5 and injuring 200.[35]

The Elie, Manitoba tornado was an F5 that struck the town of Elie, Manitoba on June 22, 2007. While several houses were leveled, no one was injured or killed by the tornado.[36][37][38]

A massive tornado outbreak on May 3, 1999 spawned an F5 tornado in the area of Oklahoma City that had the highest recorded winds on Earth.[39] This outbreak spawned over 66 tornadoes in Oklahoma alone. On this day throughout the area of Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas, over 141 tornadoes were produced. This outbreak resulted in 50 fatalities and 895 injuries.[citation needed]

A series of tornadoes, which occurred in May 2013, caused severe devastation to Oklahoma City in general. The first tornado outbreaks occurred on May 18 to May 21 when a series of tornadoes hit. From one of the storms developed a tornado which was later rated EF5, which traveled across parts of the Oklahoma City area, causing a severe amount of disruption. This tornado was first spotted in Newcastle. It touched the ground for 39 minutes, crossing through a heavily populated section of Moore.[citation needed] Winds with this tornado peaked at 210 miles per hour (340 km/h).[40] Twenty-three fatalities and 377 injuries were caused by the tornado.[41][42] Sixty-one other tornadoes were confirmed during the storm period. Later on in the same month, on the night of May 31, 2013, another eight deaths were confirmed from what became the widest tornado on record which hit El Reno, Oklahoma, one of a series of tornadoes and funnel clouds which hit nearby areas.[43]

South Africa witnesses several supercell thunderstorms each year with the inclusion of isolated tornadoes. On most occasions these tornadoes occur in open farmlands and rarely cause damage to property, as such many of the tornadoes which do occur in South Africa are not reported. The majority of supercells develop in the central, northern, and north eastern parts of the country. The Free State, Gauteng, and Kwazulu Natal are typically the provinces where these storms are most commonly experienced, though supercell activity is not limited to these provinces. On occasion, hail reaches sizes in excess of golf balls, and tornadoes, though rare, also occur.

On 6 May 2009, a well-defined hook echo was noticed on local South African radars, along with satellite imagery this supported the presence of a strong supercell storm. Reports from the area indicated heavy rains, winds and large hail.[44]

On 6 May 2009, a well-defined hook echo was noticed on local South African radars, along with satellite imagery this supported the presence of a strong supercell storm. Reports from the area indicated heavy rains, winds and large hail.[44]

On October 2, 2011, two devastating tornadoes tore through two separate parts of South Africa on the same day, hours apart from each other. The first, classified as an EF2 hit Meqheleng, the informal settlement outside Ficksburg, Free State which devastated shacks and homes, uprooted trees, and killed one small child. The second, which hit the informal settlement of Duduza, Nigel in the Gauteng province, also classified as EF2 hit hours apart from the one that struck Ficksburg. This tornado completely devastated parts of the informal settlement and killed two children, destroying shacks and RDP homes.[45][46]