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An Examination of the Radar and Lightning Characteristics of the El Reno Tornado

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Thursday, 6 November 2014
Capitol Ballroom AB (Madison Concourse Hotel)
Jenny Reed, Georgia Tech Research Institute, Atlanta, GA; and J. M. Trostel

On the evening of May 31, 2013, the El Reno tornado formed over Central Oklahoma and became, by some measures, the widest tornado in recorded history at 2.6 miles wide. The storm cell associated with the El Reno tornado has been tracked using the Georgia Institute of Technology storm cell identification and tracking (GIT SCIT) algorithm. While the tornado tracked for only 16.2 miles over a forty minute duration, the associated storm cell track spans approximately 60 miles over a two hour time span. This paper analyzes various evolutionary storm cell properties extracted from the radar data using the GIT SCIT algorithm. The temporal storm cell properties of echo top, maximum reflectivity, maximum reflectivity height, area, and mass are examined for possible correlation with tornadogensis. In addition, lightning data from the Earth Network Total Lightning Network (ENTLN) and Vaisala's National Lightning Detection Network (NLDN) are utilized to examine the transient nature of the tornadic storm cell's lightning density. More specifically, an investigation of the possible association of specific lightning trends with tornadogensis is performed.