Typhoon Rammasun rapidly intensified prior to landfall early on 07/15/14. This infrared satellite animation shows the rapid development of the eye along with the lightning density product which shows two distinct areas of lightning activity. The first occurs in the yellow circle over the island of Luzon where a burst of lightning occurs in the late afternoon hours locally, most likely aided by terrain and heating. Some of the lightning pockets exhibit cellular qualities (supercells?). Another burst, though less intense, occurs in the southeast portion of the eyewall as the eye clears out. This is another way the lightning density products could aid forecasters in the ever changing environment around a rapidly intensifying tropical cyclone.
Tropical cyclones do not typically exhibit much in the way of lightning activity since there is less CAPE and therefore, less ice in the cloud tops to create the charge separation for at least, cloud-to-ground lightning. When storms make landfall, friction and dry air from downsloping can help to offset the otherwise more “stable” environment.
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