Breaking down Sunday’s storm video in Columbus

COLUMBUS (WCMH) – Did you happen to catch that massive rain cell that almost appeared to consume the city at times Sunday?

If you didn’t, don’t worry, we did at NBC4, and I am going to discuss some of the cool features I spotted in this cell.  I took about a dozen screen grabs of the time-lapse.  Also, I did a bit of scribbling/drawing on these images and explain what we are looking at.

(Below) Radar image from our Storm Team 4 Weather App from this storm Sunday evening.

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(Below) You can see in blue, the rain shaft that is falling from this cloud.  At this time, the cell is basically drifting at this time.   This is dangerous for flash flooding, as a tropical cell like this can drop several inches over an area in a hour, like it did in Cincinnati the same day.

Also, in the red, you notice this inflow into this storm coming in from the north.

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(Below) Next, you will notice the heavy rain shaft to the east in orange box, then another heavy rain shaft in the blue to the south of our camera.   Inside of the red box is the tip of a rain wrapped lightning bolt.   From inside of this rain shaft, people downtown in the Arena District may have noticed this bolt hit the top of one of the buildings downtown.

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(Below) I have circled 3 different rain shafts, the one on the left is moving south-southwest, the center cell actually appears to be drifting to the east slowly, and off on the right, you see that rain shaft closing in near the Grove City area.

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(Below) About the same time I snapped this picture from downtown where the buildings appear to disappear in the rain.

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(Below)  Pretty cool snap here, because you can see the clouds up top of the frame actually moving to the southwest a bit, but you notice the clouds I circled in the green actually lifting up into the clouds.   For a few frames before you can see moisture building into these clouds and they feed into this storm.  To the left of this pic, you can see the large rain shaft, including a big drop on our camera.

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(Below) You can see the heavy rain shaft starting to form.  Incoming moisture is feeding into a cell that had been sitting near downtown dumping rain.   The “m” is the areas of moderate rain showers near Reynoldsburg, and south of downtown.  The heaviest rain “H” is Bexley/Whitehall area.  The light rain shaft “L” is near Grove City.

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(Below) It appears watching at this point that the moisture from the northeast of the main cell (left side) and the moisture to the southwest (right side, near “L” light rain shaft) is feeding into this cell.  Heaviest rain “H” is nearing downtown.

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(Below) You can see in this image that the downburst is really taking shape.  The middle arrow is almost down center of the downburst wind that is about to drop the colder air, heavy rain, and gusty winds with it.

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(Below) The downburst is taking shape and pushing the gusty winds down just east of downtown Columbus.   I have noted with the “W” the areas of strongest winds.   This would correspond to wind damage reports in the area that occurred around the time of this screen shot.  The airport reported winds going from near calm to gusty from the south as this storm (south-southwest of the airport) dropped this rain/wind shaft down.

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(Below) This wet downburst produced gusty winds that produced damage on the ground, and very heavy rainfall.  Also, these types of storms are especially dangerous for airplanes.   You also notice in the green box, another awesome looking lightning strike just south of downtown.   The storm in this image is slowly moving to the south (yellow arrows).

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(Below) In the “H” is the core of the wet downburst, and you can see the very heavy rain becoming almost white in this picture as sunlight is starting to peak behind our camera to the west.   You also notice I scribbled in arrows of winds.  You can see the down drafts and updrafts.  Also, you can start to see the light rain on the left side of the image and the weak updrafts filling in a rainbow.

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(Below)  This downburst is running out of its copious amounts of moisture and the shaft is thinning.  However there are other rain shafts forming south of downtown as this cell is starting to move south and a low level north breeze is moving this cell.

Also, in the two green boxes you can see two rainbows here.  The first one is brighter, the 2nd is more faint looking.

The 2nd picture is the rainbow from the ground over downtown Columbus.

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(Below) The weak northerly flow is finally starting to move this cell away from downtown Columbus.  We are still seeing a weak rain shaft bringing light showers to the east side of town, and still keeping those two rainbows alive.  The heavy rain downburst has moved south down 23 heading towards Pickaway County.   The storm in general is moving south now, providing relief from the heavy rain, winds, and clean-up time.

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If you have any questions about this storm, or any other general weather questions, please send them to me at

Also, we would love to see any pictures you have from this storm or any other! or share them on my Facebook page, or use our Storm Team 4 Weather app.   If you use social media, use the hashtag #stormteam4 provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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