149 A Closer Look at Concurrent, Collocated Tornado and Flash Flood Events Observed during the First Year of VORTEX-SE

Thursday, 10 November 2016
Broadway Rooms (Hilton Portland )
Erik R. Nielsen, Colorado State Univ., Fort Collins, CO; and G. R. Herman and R. S. Schumacher

In recent research, the authors have examined issues related to the threat posed by concurrent, collocated tornadoes and flash floods (referred to as TORFF events). These events pose many challenges from both a meteorological and communication standpoint.

This study presents an in depth look at TORFF events that occurred during (or just outside) of the first year of the VORTEX-SE field project.  Specific cases discussed will include the late December TORFFs of 2015 near Dallas/Fort Worth, TX and Birmingham, AL and another verified TORFF that occurred in Dermott, AR on March 31st, 2016. During the Dermott event, an EF-1 tornado and widespread flash flooding were produced by a quasi-linear convective system in the overnight hours. A detailed look at the synoptic-to-mesoscale characteristics, radar patterns, precipitation accumulations, event timing, and the associated tornado and flood report details is presented. Care is given to classify each event in a similar manner to that presented for 68 previously verified TORFF events in Nielsen et al. 2015 (WAF).  Further, the meteorological characteristics of the confirmed TORFF events in the southeastern United States are compared to the general characteristics enumerated in Nielsen et al. 2015 and any differences identified.

The results show (as of this abstract writing) that 39 overlapping warnings have occurred in the southeastern U.S. in 2016, which make up ~25% of the total throughout the U.S. Additionally, the analysis of the confirmed TORFF events highlight very strong low-level shear, deep moisture, high surface relative humidity, and a stable nocturnal boundary layer as characteristics of TORFF events in the southeast. While these results are largely consistent with the bulk meteorological characteristics of TORFF events identified in Nielsen et al. 2015, slight, but important, differences do exist.

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