53 Radar Climatology and Analysis of Near-Storm Environment of Tornadic Vortices in the Baltimore/Washington Region of the Mid-Atlantic United States

Monday, 22 October 2018
Stowe & Atrium rooms (Stoweflake Mountain Resort )
James E. Lee, NWS, Sterling, VA; and B. Rinaldi

There were 145 tornadoes within the Baltimore/Washington region of the mid-Atlantic United States in the ten years from 2008 to 2017. While most of these storms were rated on the Enhanced Fujita (EF) Scale at EF0 with wind speeds of 65-85 mph, thirty-four were rated EF1 (86-100 mph), and three were rated EF2 (111-135 mph).

This research will review the radar climatology for each tornado vortex, along with the near-storm environment immediately prior to the tornado touchdown. The radar climatology includes classification of the convective mode for each tornado event, along with characteristics of the tornado’s parent mesocyclone which includes the velocity difference, range, height above radar level, diameter, azimuth/shear, and rotational velocity. The near-storm environment includes documenting the Significant Tornado Parameter (effective layer), CAPE, 0-1 km helicity, 0-3 km helicity, and effective shear parameters prior to tornado occurrence.

Analysis of both the radar climatology and near-storm environment will be performed to determine if any correlations between climatology, mesocyclone characteristics, and EF rating can be established. Additionally, the mesocyclones will be analyzed 10-20 minutes prior to tornadogenesis to determine if there are any characteristics that stand out as a precursor to tornado formation.

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