The southwest vortex (SWV) is one of the strongest heavy systems in China. The intensity, frequency and range of rainstorm caused by it are only inferior to typhoon and residual pressure, It can cause disastrous weather in the vast area of Southwest China and the eastern part of China. We review the research history and new progresses of the SWVs, and mainly discuss such scientific problems as evolution of mesoscale structure and mechanism induced heavy rain based on new data and methods, as well as climatology of southwest vortices under the background of global warming. According to the latest research achievement of the SWVs, the development and application trends of related theory and methods, we propose several notable new research directions in the field of this study. It is not clear for the detailed structure of SWVs and the physical mechanism of high-influence weather initiated by them, Therefore, its further study is of great importance for theoretical development of weather dynamics of the Tibetan Plateau (TP), and will provide a theoretical guide for severe weather analysis and forecast over the TP and Sichuan Basin.