Session 12.4 Anomolous lightning behaviour in Northern Plains tornadic supercells

Thursday, 9 November 2006: 9:15 AM
St. Louis AB (Adam's Mark Hotel)
Michael McDonald, MSC, Winnipeg, MB, Canada; and P. J. McCarthy and D. Patrick

Presentation PDF (649.2 kB)

In 1989, the U.S. National Lightning Detection Network (NLDN) was established providing a dense data collection network. Since then, numerous attempts have been made to associate lightning activity with severe weather events.

In 1998, Canada established a similar lightning detection network. The Canadian Prairies are part of the North American Northern Plains and is the location of the majority of Canada's tornado occurrences. The new Canadian Lightning Detection Network (CLDN), in combination with the American network, now provides a comprehensive coverage of the Northern Plains. Unusual lighting activity with tornadic supercells in this region has been occasionally noted by Canadian forecasters. However, a rigorous assessment of any relationship between lightning activity and supercell tornadoes had not been attempted until recently.

The Meteorological Service of Canada's Prairie and Arctic Storm Prediction Centre and Hydrometeorological and Arctic Lab are attempting to track cell-based lightning activity and to correlate it with tornado reports. Canada's Storm Prediction Centres use a radar system that can track automatically individual cells. Each tracked cell is then correlated with CLDN data. This allows for the automatic and continuous assessment of all storms within the radar space. Information collected is then compared with both Canadian and American tornado reports. This paper presents some of the preliminary findings.

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