Link to NWS Louisville Science and Technology Homepage WSR-88D Images of the March 28, 1997 Wind, Hail, and Tornado Event
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On March 28, 1997, a major severe weather outbreak occurred across central Kentucky and south-central Indiana ahead of a cold front and upper-air system. Strong lift, an unstable air mass, and strong vertical wind shear resulted in development of various severe convective storm structures, including supercells and multicells in an axis across central Kentucky followed by a squall line and bow echo over south-central Indiana and north-central Kentucky. Numerous reports of large hail and wind damage occurred along with a few tornadoes in central Kentucky. The following series of images from the NWS Louisville WSR-88D Doppler radar system shows the structure of a few of the storms during this event.
 WSR-88D Image 1 of March 28, 1997 Severe Weather Event This reflectivity image shows numerous strong to severe thunderstorms on March 28, 1997. One area of storms was located from near Louisville south to Bowling Green. Multicellular and a few supercellular storms were present in this zone. The supercells were responsible for most of the large hail and damaging tornadoes across central Kentucky. Farther west, a squall line was located over southwestern Indiana, with the leading edge of the line bowed out to the east. This signature is called a "bow echo" or "bowing line segment" and typically is associated with damaging straight-line winds and possibly transient tornadoes along the leading edge of the squall line.
 WSR-88D Image 2 of March 28, 1997 Severe Weather Event Close-up reflectivity image of a supercell complex over southern Larue and northern Hart counties in central Kentucky. The main inflow into the storm and the location of a rotating updraft, i.e., mesocyclone was on the south side over north-central Hart county. At this time, a tornado was on the ground near Bonnieville in north-central Hart county. Just north of the tornado, the red reflectivity colors indicated that very heavy rain and hail were occurring over extreme northern Hart and southern Larue counties.
 WSR-88D Image 3 of March 28, 1997 Severe Weather Event This reflectivity image shows the supercell a few minutes later over extreme northern Hart and southern Larue counties. Particularly noteworthy is the well-defined "hook echo" on the southwest flank of the storm with a "weak echo region" located within the hook. This represents the location of a mesocyclone where a tornado was on the ground in extreme northern Hart county. Other storms developing across northeastern Hart county eventually were associated with a separate tornado over extreme northern Green county.
 WSR-88D Image 4 of March 28, 1997 Severe Weather Event Corresponding storm-relative velocity (SRM) image showing wind flow with respect to the supercell thunderstorm and tornado over northern Hart county. Green (red) colors denote winds directed toward (away from) the radar (located about 35-40 miles to the north). In this image, a tornado vortex signature (TVS) was detected over north-central Hart county just north of Bonnieville. The tight red-green couplet represented the strong, cyclonically rotating circulation associated with the tornado. Just southeast of this signature was a broader cyclonic circulation; although non-tornadic at this time, it eventually produced another tornado in extreme northern Green county. Also note the larger area of light green colors southeast of the TVS; this represents an area of strong storm-relative inflow into the supercell storm, which is essential in maintaining a severe thunderstorm capable of producing a tornado.
 WSR-88D Image 5 of March 28, 1997 Severe Weather Event A reflectivity vertical cross-section of large, mature severe thunderstorms over south-central Kentucky (east of Bowling Green), but not the same storm as shown above. The image reveals thunderstorms with echo tops of about 47000 feet, with high reflectivity values (red and pink colors) extending up to between 35000 and 40000 feet. The significant area of pink color (reflectivity values at least 65 dBZ) suspended aloft is indicative of a very strong updraft within the storm and that large hail likely may soon occur at the surface. Some storm tilt also is apparent. Two separate storms/updrafts appear right next to each other in this image. On the far left part of the cross-section, a weakening thunderstorm is evident as highest reflectivity returns are located in the lower portion of the storm.

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