51 Environments of Supercellular Satellite Tornadoes

Monday, 22 October 2018
Stowe & Atrium rooms (Stoweflake Mountain Resort )
Roger Edwards, SPC, Norman, OK; and A. R. Dean
Manuscript (628.4 kB)

Satellite tornadoes (STs) were documented and defined in our previous study as a discrete tornadic vortex forming separately from the typically larger, longer-lived main tornado (MT) and orbiting the mesocyclone of the MT for much of the former's lifespan. As such, they are distinct from the MT, and not subvortices, though STs sometimes are absorbed by MTs. The dataset of STs, called SATTOR, has expanded to 83 known examples associated with 56 MTs through 2017. Of the MTs documented in SATTOR, 45 have occurred during the timeframe of the Storm Prediction Center mesoanalysis dataset, beginning in 2003. Prior analysis indicated that STs typically occur around MTs that are wider, longer-tracked, and higher-rated than average for tornadoes as a whole—many being long-tracked, violent (EF4 to EF5) events. In this effort, we present updated path and lifespan characteristics for STs and their MTs since 2014. Preliminary testing also supports a hypothesis that ST-producing supercells inhabit environments associated with violent tornadoes. By some preliminary measures in associated CAPE and shear parameter spaces, STs often occur in the high ranges of even those environments, indicating potential ST predictability.
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