Well, in a case of you said toamto...I said tom-ato...I think I've reached my weather knowledge limit with technical respect to MCS. I just did a little research via google to provide proof of what an MCS was. I guess the meteorologists I know are pretty picky in what they call an MCS, but not all folks in the community are...In fact, a tropical cyclone in itself is defined as an MCS by some...At this point, I'll post some definitions, but will have to leave the rest up to the meteorologists on the board to better explain...Fun talkin' tropics, and development huh? We all learn something here!
Here are 3 definitions via google searches of MCS, there are more though...hope this helps somewhat in ralation to understanding the northern gulf feature (in some way):
1.) American Meteorological Society ( http://amsglossary.allenpress.com/glossary/browse?s=m&p=27 ): mesoscale convective complex°™(Abbreviated MCC.) A subset of mesoscale convective systems (MCS) that exhibit a large, circular (as observed by satellite), long-lived, cold cloud shield.
The cold cloud shield must exhibit the following physical characteristics.
Size: A - Cloud shield with continuously low infrared (IR) temperature °‹ −32°„C must have an area °› 105 km2; and B - Interior cold cloud region with temperature °‹ −52°„C must have an area °› 0.5 X 105 km2.
Initiate: Size definitions A and B are first satisfied
Duration: Size definitions A and B must be met for a period °› 6 h.
Maximum extent: Contiguous cold cloud shield (IR temperature °‹ −33°„C) reaches maximum size.
Shape: Eccentricity (minor axis/major axis) °› 0.7 at time of maximum extent.
Terminate: Size definitions A and B no longer satisfied.
Alternatively, a dynamical definition of an MCC requires that the system have a Rossby number of order 1 and exhibit a horizontal scale comparable to the Rossby radius of deformation. In midlatitude MCS environments, the Rossby radius of deformation is about 300 km.
Definition 2.) k12.ocs.ou.edu/teachers/glossary/m.html : (Mesoscale Convective System) - a complex of thunderstorms which becomes organized on a scale larger than the individual thunderstorms, and normally persists for several hours or more. MCSs may be round or linear in shape, and include systems such as tropical cyclones, squall lines, and MCCs (among others). MCS often is used to describe a cluster of thunderstorms that does not satisfy the size, shape, or duration criteria of an MCC.
Definition 3.) http://www.kfor.com/Global/story.asp?S=254598: Mesoscale Convective Complex (MCC): A large area of thunderstorms (larger than an MCS), usually round or oval shaped, that is about the size of Ohio or Iowa state... lasting for 6 hours or more. They normally form in the afternoon or evening, typically reaching their peak intensity at night. At this time, flooding becomes the main threat. Severe weather (damaging wind, large hail, tornadoes) may occur at any time.