Poster Session P12.4 Analysis of the 28 April 2002 La Plata, Maryland tornado mesoscale environment

Thursday, 7 October 2004
Stephen J. Rogowski, NOAA/NWS, Sterling, VA; and S. M. Zubrick

Handout (2.2 MB)

A severe weather outbreak occurred on 28 April 2002 from the Tennessee Valley through the Mid Atlantic and into the Eastern Great Lakes Region. Warm advection precipitation served to stabilize the environment along and north of the surface warm frontal boundary, which was located across the northern Mid Atlantic Region through the morning hours. Explosive convective development occurred across the Ohio and Tennessee Valleys during the early afternoon, reaching the Mid Atlantic Region during the late afternoon and evening hours.

A cyclical long-lived supercell tracked from West Virginia east across northern Virginia and lower southern Maryland during the event, causing several tornadoes during its lifespan. One of these tornadoes touched down in Charles County, Maryland and strengthened to F4 intensity as it destroyed a large portion of La Plata, Maryland. An attempt will be made to find clues within the environment that conditions across lower southern Maryland were more favorable for the development of violent tornadoes than further west earlier that afternoon.

Both observational and mesoscale model data will be used to analyze the dynamic and thermodynamic environment. Traditional observational datasets such as RAOBS, analyzed surface maps, profiler data, and Sterling, Virginia (KLWX) WSR-88D will be compared to RUC and ETA model data using both the AWIPS D2D and BUFKIT interfaces. Finally, experimental ACARS observational data will be used to continually reassess the thermodynamic environment and wind field during the event.

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