S258 Analyzing the Evolution of Winter Storm Environments

Sunday, 6 January 2019
Hall 4 (Phoenix Convention Center - West and North Buildings)
Emily D. Lenhardt, Univ. of Oklahoma, Norman, OK; and E. R. Martin

Weather induced destruction and devastation is usually associated with tornadoes and violent thunderstorms, especially in the South Central United States. However, impacts due to winter precipitation can be equally as damaging, especially in terms of transportation and power outages. Research has been done to categorize types of winter precipitation and the typical lower atmospheric profiles associated with each one. However, it is still not clear as to how the spatial and temporal variability of these different profiles can be forecasted ahead of a system moving in and bringing precipitation. When people do not know if precipitation will come down as rain, ice pellets, snow or freezing rain, they are not able to adequately prepare for safe travel and operations during the event.

This project addresses the formation and development of winter precipitation, specifically in regards to the evolution of vertical profiles of the atmosphere ahead of a precipitation event. To do this, five case studies of winter weather events were chosen from the state of Oklahoma. Data including surface temperature, pressure, total precipitation, and geopotential height will be analyzed from the North American Regional Reanalysis (NARR), Oklahoma Mesonet, and University of Wyoming sounding data for each event. These events will be compared and analyzed in order to better understand the development of winter precipitation events over Oklahoma and which patterns and trends are associated with specific outcomes at the surface. Identifying these important trends and variables will provide a more informed and efficient basis from which to sample pre-storm environments using unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) capabilities in the near future.

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