A rare winter thunderstorm event near Hong Kong

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Pak Wai Chan
Kai Kwong Hon
Qiusheng Li


A rare winter thunderstorm event near Hong Kong is documented in this paper. The thunderstorm occurrence was confirmed by the observation of one of the authors and lightning location information systems (both regional and global). It developed over the frontal cloud band associated with the winter monsoon. Observing the upper air measurements, however, the thermodynamic conditions did not seem favorable to the occurrence of the thunderstorm. The convective available potential energy could not be determined in the cool and dry lower troposphere. There was only a moister layer in the middle troposphere. The weather forecaster did not anticipate the occurrence of thunder and lightning. However, some features could have changed dynamically, which suggested the possibility that a thunderstorm would take place. For instance, waves could be identified in the middle troposphere and a broad troughing flow could be analyzed in the lower troposphere. The integrated wave vapor was also of a rather high level. It is hoped that this paper can serve as a useful reference for forecasters in assessing the possibility of thunderstorms occurring during winter over subtropical latitudes in association with frontal cloud bands.


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