15.3A Tornado Visualization and Doppler Radar Analysis Project

Friday, 26 October 2018: 11:30 AM
Pinnacle room (Stoweflake Mountain Resort )
Thomas Dolan, Independent Geographer, Rocklin, CA
Manuscript (1.4 MB)

Handout (4.2 MB) Handout (11.8 MB)

Tornadoes play a significant role in the weather of the United States and the Tornado Visualization and Doppler Radar Analysis Project accumulated 10 years of field research on tornado events. The project documents tornado formation using 3D analysis utilizing the existing Doppler Radar data which is available in the field in near real time and post event analysis from the archived Doppler Radar data. The Doppler Radar data is filtered to allow for specific data images to be created of the Base Reflectivity, Base Velocity, Storm Relative and Normalized Rotation radar scans of a tornadic storm. These images are then blended to see the relationships they have with the other radar images during the specific tornado event time and this information is compared to ground damage observed, photos and videos taken and correlated to the Radar. These images are then put in sequence to better visualize the life cycle of the tornado and the images are put into to motion to see the tornado structure evolution. This work assists in seeing where in the storm the tornado is developing as the wind flows are blocked by the developing and mature thunderstorm along with dissipation and cycling. The work from the Doppler Radar Analysis project assists in seeing the role wind flow blocking that develops in the Base Reflectivity plays in the tornado life cycle management. This field work complements the extensive efforts made by the weather research and operations community to better understand these significant tornado weather events.

This presentation will cover the May 25, 2016 26-mile EF-4 Tornado that was field observed from Niles, Kansas through Chapman, Kansas. The tornado intensifies rapidly and travels east on its path directly towards the Topeka National Weather Service radar. This created the ideal distance for the 3D analysis work performed. Damage photos taken following the tornado are used to compare with the 3D radar data and the observed tornado phases. The photos, videos and Doppler radar data are assembled to demonstrate the life cycle morphology of this tornadic event from pre-initiation, intensification, and collapse. This Analysis review will also include the Joplin, MO EF-5, El Reno EF-3, Moore, OK EF-5, Greensburg, KS EF-5, and lone supercell tornado interaction with squall lines.

Images from Niles-Chapman EF-4 Tornado May 25, 2016

Supplementary URL: outdoorstorms.com

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