Dowell et al. (2005) employed an axisymmetric numerical model to study particle motions and concentrations in tornadoes. We used 1.5-mm-diameter raindrops in the model to produce flow and reflectivity patterns for three different sized tornadoes: medium, large, and very large. The model output then was scanned with a WSR-88D emulator to produce simulated reflectivity and Doppler velocity measurements within the tornadoes.
We found that, except for the rare very large tornado, peak Doppler velocity values associated with a low-reflectivity eye at close range occurred at a smaller radius than in the model tornado. These peak Doppler velocity values also were at a smaller radius than peak values associated with a uniform reflectivity pattern. As distance from the radar increased, the widening radar beam smeared the low-reflectivity eye to produce a more uniform distribution of reflectivity. At the same time, the peak Doppler velocity values approached those obtained for a uniform reflectivity distribution. Thus, in a typical tornado near a WSR-88D, we would expect the presence of a low-reflectivity eye to cause the peak Doppler velocity values to appear at a smaller radius than the radius of the true peak tangential velocities.