Bow echo

From Glossary of Meteorology

bow echo

A bow-shaped line of convective cells that is often associated with swaths of damaging straight-line winds and small tornadoes.

Key structural features include an intense rear-inflow jet impinging on the core of the bow, with book-end or line-end vortices on both sides of the rear-inflow jet, behind the ends of the bowed convective segment. Bow echoes have been observed with scales between 20 and 200 km, and often have lifetimes between 3 and 6 h. At early stages in their evolution, both cyclonic and anticyclonic book-end vortices tend to be of similar strength, but later in the evolution, the northern cyclonic vortex often dominates, giving the convective system a comma-shaped appearance.