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Day 1 Severe Storms Forecasting Jim LaDue – WDTB 08 June, 2005.

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Presentation on theme: "Day 1 Severe Storms Forecasting Jim LaDue – WDTB 08 June, 2005."— Presentation transcript:

1 Day 1 Severe Storms Forecasting Jim LaDue – WDTB 08 June, 2005

2 Topics Use today’s example to discuss 2-8 hour severe storms forecast strategies –Convective forcing – lines vs. isolated –Convective mode If isolated, what type? If a line, what type? Hazards type? –Timing – When is initiation likely?

3 General philosophy 1.Diagnose the current weather with real observations first 2.Then compare reality to what the model analyzed 3.Then use the model and your understanding of its errors to make a prognosis.

4 Which model run to believe?


6 A simple methodology for convective initiation After that is figuring what stormtype there’ll be. Analyze regions of potential Convective instability look for forcing mechanisms to destabilize the atmosphere Next look for low-level triggering mechanisms

7 General regions of potential convective instability

8 What fits your conceptual model best? Forcing mechanisms

9 Short-wave forcing 500 mb Q- vectors

10 Synoptic forcing mechanisms Complications of playing the jetstream game Cyclonic curved jet anticyclonic curved jet Ascent only where the red dots are located

11 Playing the jet game isn’t as critical with a bowling ball low

12 Forcing contd Vertical motion from the RUC Vertical motion acts to remove the CAP Not the only type of CAP remover

13 Differential thermal advection Warm advection down below or Cold advection up above Bottom line, the sounding destabilizes

14 Differential thermal advection 700mb cooling

15 850mb Ascent cooling Compensated by solar heating Differenti al thermal advection /heating

16 Bottom line? Note lifting of the CAP at FWD

17 Low-level forcing mechanisms Low-level frontogenesis –How deep is it? Dryline –Poor at forcing CI –That’s good Any other troughs?

18 Deep frontogenesis Shows up from surface past 850 mb

19 Surface boundaries

20 Convective forcing summ frontogenesis DPVA WAA

21 Forcing, now coverage CI is underway. The strongest forcing areas will most likely generate linear modes But geometry of forcing, especially with boundaries is important

22 Boundary geometry Things to consider –Boundary-relative steering layer flow –Boundary-relative anvil-layer flow –Shear relative to lines of forcing

23 Boundary-relative steering layer flow Promotes more initiation if this value is small Can be good if CIN is a problem Too little CIN with forcing and this can be a problem

24 Boundary-relative Flow Parameters Boundary- relative flow Boundary-relative storm motion Storm motion Flow Boundary motion

25 Effects of Boundary-relative kinematics on storm morphology Steering flow Is the storm going to remain on, fall behind or overtake a boundary? This may affect storm type beyond CAPE and shear stable unstable

26 Boundary-relative anvil-layer flow If parallel to a line of forcing: –This can promote interstorm seeding and cold pool development If directed ahead of a the forcing line –Limits cold pool development greater chance of isolated modes If directed behind line of forcing –Depends but it can promote a rear inflow jet

27 Effects of Boundary-relative kinematics on storm morphology Shear Shear vector RM LM

28 Now given your expected coverage are likely, what are the threats? Severe winds, Severe hail Tornadoes Heavy rain

29 Ingredients for supercells and severe squall lines/bow echoes Deep moist convection (CAPE> a few hundred j/kg) Strong vertical wind shear –Best represented by 0-6 km bulk shear –Subtract the winds at 6 km from the boundary layer –Can be represented by Bulk Richardson Number Shear or BRN shear = 0.5 (U avg ) 2 where U avg is the difference from the mean 0-6 km wind and the mean wind in the lowest 500 m.

30 Do I have enough shear? If I have around 18 m/s (35 kt) of shear between 500 mb and close to the ground. Just eyeballing 500mb, look for at least 30kt in the lower plains and 20 kt in the high plains. I personally look for that 40kt of shear

31 supercell motion sfc 6 km 1.Draw the shear vector from the surface to about 6km (in red here) 2.Plot the mean 0-6km wind if it isn’t there already (green dot) 3.Plot a line perpendicular to the shear vector that passes through mean wind (thin line) R L 4. The right (left) mover is about 8 m/s right (left) of the mean wind along the thin line.

32 Horizontal cross sections of supercell motion Make sure you are aware of ordinary and supercell motion before leaving.

33 Multicell Motion If a multicell backbuilds, heavy rain is a potential threat Use original MBE Vector (“Corfidi”) Technique After Corfidi et al. (1996) V cl = 0-6 km mean wind V llj = direction of 0-1.5 km wind V mbe = multicell motion V cl V prop = -V LLJ V MBE

34 Multicell Motion 4)Boundary interactions Modulates/enhances development of new convection Blue = steering layer flow Green=triple pt motion Red = multicell motion (Weaver, 1979)

35 Supercell tornado threat We don’t know the ingredients and this is still frontier science But here are some parameters to look for deciding whether to chase or not. –High storm relative helicity (SRH), especially in the lowest 1km –A strong sustained updraft, preferably one that begins close to ground, strong buoyancy in low levels –Warm moist rear flank downdraft, low LCL is a good starting proxy parameter

36 Storm Relative Helicity Air that is spinning around on its axis in the direction of motion (a thrown football) It is storm relative, therefore one must anticipate storm motion prior to storms Best visualized on a hodograph Also can be represented as a number in units of m 2 /s 2 and contoured Usually measured in the lowest 3 km but now measured also in the lowest 1 km.

37 SRH Recent research shows better discrimination between tornadic and nontornadic supercells with 0-1km SRH. Most sounding programs and maps use 0 – 3 km SRH. Look at soundings for evidence of high 0 – 1 km SRH. Edwards and Thompson, 2000

38 Simple and perhaps better: 0-1km shear Look for 20 kts or more for most significant mesocyclonic tornadoes

39 SRH contd. SRH can be enhanced by supercells themselves, especially supercells utilizing high CAPE and shear. Estimated hodograph within 20 km of the storm in following page.

40 Warm moist RFD This cannot be so easily anticipated and every storm can have different RFD temperatures But high RH boundary layers with low cloud bases (LCL) seem to have some relation Rasmussen and Blanchard, 1998

41 Estimating LCL heights Look at surface obs in an unstable airmass –LCL = 222 (T – Td) LCL in feet, Temps in F LCLs should be less than 1500 m for best tornado threat –LCL height also displayed from soundings

42 LCL height on the SPC product

43 This storm is creating its own SRH CAPE = 4800 j/kg SRH initially at zero 0-6km shear = 60kt

44 Strong low-level buoyancy Recent research courtesy of Jon Davies, Bill McCaul, suggest strong low-level buoyancy is associated with most significant tornadoes. LLbuoy_background.htm

45 Strong low-level buoyancy There also is a lower Level of Free Convection (LFC) with most significant tornadoes. 796/waf796.htm

46 Strong low-level buoyancy There also is a lower Convective Inhibition (CIN) with most significant tornadoes. 796/waf796.htm

47 LFC height example A little marginal in SE OK. Good in NC KS

48 Nonmesocyclonic tornadoes Prefer strong low-level vertical vorticity and good low-level lapse rates/buoyancy

49 How to forecast HP, CL, LP supercells Storm-relative anvil layer winds likely affect the storm type –LPs more common with SR anvil winds > 30 m/s –Classics: SR anvil winds 18 – 30 m/s –HPs: SR anvil winds < 18 m/s. Storm-to-storm seeding –Several storms in close proximity seed each other increasing rain potential and HPs Moisture –This is a distant third but very dry atmospheres may keep storms LP

50 Storm-relative anvil layer winds SR winds in range for classics. Isolated storm becomes long-lasting Hoisington, KS storm. Photo by Corey Mead

51 Interstorm seeding Storm on flanking line merges with target storm. Result was possibly a complicated storm structure during initial stages and possible interruption in tornadogenesis.

52 Forecast methodology As you approach initiation time, concentrate more on satellite, surface, profilers, radars to update your analysis –If the mesoscale models look good, use them for your supercell, tornado parameters.

53 Summary 1.Determine expected convective coverage a.Low coverage implies updraft shear dynamics b.High coverage implies organized multicells, cold pool/shear dynamics in addition to updraft/shear dyamics 2.Then determine your storm type and main hazards a.Many of the parameters can be used for multicell and isolated cell convection b.Hodograph/Skewt analysis is important! 3.Do not trust the models

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