Poster Session P5.8 A Climatology of Synoptic Conditions which produced Significant Tornadoes across the Southern Appalachian Region

Tuesday, 5 October 2004
David M. Gaffin, NOAA/NWS, Morristown, TN; and S. S. Parker

Handout (2.6 MB)

The frequency of significant tornadoes (F2 or greater) decreases markedly from west-to-east across the Tennessee River Valley and southern Appalachian region. It's commonly thought that this decrease is mainly due to the increasingly complex terrain of the southern Appalachian region. A need exists for a study to help local forecasters determine the synoptic conditions which affect the development and inhibition of significant tornadoes across the different large-scale terrain features. A fifty-four year climatology (1950-2003) of significant tornadoes has been compiled in order to examine the distribution of tornadoes across the Cumberland Plateau, Great Tennessee Valley, and southern Appalachian Mountains. Tornado events have been classified according to whether they occurred solely across the Cumberland Plateau, Great Tennessee Valley, southern Appalachian Mountains, or any combination of the three. Surface and upper-air (850 hPa, 500 hPa, and 250 hPa) charts from NCDC have been examined for any similarities and differences between these classifications. Initial results will be presented, along with directions for future research.
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