The multiple-vortex structure of the El Reno, Oklahoma, Tornado on 31 May 2013

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© 2018 American Meteorological Society. This study documents the formation and evolution of secondary vortices associated within a large, violent tornado in Oklahoma based on data from a close-range, mobile, polarimetric, rapid-scan, X-band Doppler radar. Secondary vortices were tracked relative to the parent circulation using data collected every 2 s. It was found that most long-lived vortices (those that could be tracked for ≥15 s) formed within the radius of maximum wind (RMW), mainly in the left-rear quadrant (with respect to parent tornado motion), passing around the center of the parent tornado and dissipating closer to the center in the right-forward and left-forward quadrants. Some secondary vortices persisted for at least 1 min. When a Burgers-Rott vortex is fit to the Doppler radar data, and the vortex is assumed to be axisymmetric, the secondary vortices propagated slowly against the mean azimuthal flow; if the vortex is not assumed to be axisymmetric as a result of a strong rear-flank gust front on one side of it, then the secondary vortices moved along approximately with the wind.