80 Utilization of Multiple Platforms in a High-Resolution Tornado Damage Survey: The 31 March 2016 Hartselle-Priceville, Alabama EF2 Tornado during VORTEX-SE

Tuesday, 8 November 2016
Broadway Rooms (Hilton Portland )
Anthony W. Lyza, Univ. of Alabama, Huntsville, AL; and C. L. Calamaio, A. L. Ravenscraft, A. Staarmann, D. M. Conrad, P. Tucker, R. Wade, K. R. Knupp, L. A. Schultz, T. P. Barron, B. C. Carcione, K. D. White, J. R. Walker, T. R. Lee, M. Buban, E. J. Dumas Jr., P. Owen, M. Warner, and K. Harvey

An EF2 tornado impacted Hartselle and Priceville, Alabama, on the evening of 31 March 2016, during the third intensive operations period (IOP) of the first year of the Verification of the Origins of Rotation in Tornadoes Experiment – Southeast (VORTEX-SE) field campaign.  In response to the tornado, a pair of ground survey teams from the National Weather Service weather forecast office (WFO) in Huntsville were dispatched to assess the damage, aided by students from the University of Alabama in Huntsville’s Severe Weather Institute-Radar and Lightning Laboratories (UAH-SWIRLL).  Though exhaustive efforts were made in the initial ground surveys, teams were found hampered by poor terrain, lack of access roads, and localized flooding during the initial surveys, particularly near the start and end points of the track, which were in a heavily wooded area and along the Tennessee River, respectively.  To aid in high-resolution analysis, numerous additional survey platforms were employed, including both fixed-wing and multi-rotor unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) platforms, a manned aerial survey, and high-resolution satellite imagery.  In addition to filling in gaps and providing high-resolution detail to the already-established tornado track, these platforms allowed for an approximately 1.7-km extension of the path length by better refining both the tornadogenesis and dissipation points.  In this presentation, we highlight specific examples of the utility of each instrument platform in the process of surveying this tornado event.  We discuss the integration of all platforms into forming one coherent survey analysis, as well as the potential for using these survey platforms in future high-resolution post-storm assessments.  Finally, we highlight scientifically-intriguing observations noted along the damage path of this tornado using the survey information.
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