26 Prediction of Microbursts in the Northeastern U.S.

Monday, 22 October 2018
Stowe & Atrium rooms (Stoweflake Mountain Resort )
Stephen Jessup, SUNY, Brockport, NY; and A. Burke

Convective storms that produce microburst winds are associated with a rapid decaying phase that is difficult to predict. Previous research suggests that radar parameters and lightning activity may peak in the minutes leading up to microbursts; however, this research focuses on a small number of cases outside the northeast US. Peaks in cloud height, echo top height, vertical integrated liquid (VIL), intra-cloud (IC) lightning, and cloud-to-ground (CG) lightning have been identified as potential predictors of microburst activity. To test these predictors of microburst activity in the northeast US, eleven quasi-cellular microburst cases were identified from New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey from 2012-2016 via the National Centers for Environmental Information Storm Events Database. Total lightning (IC+CG) was obtained from Vaisala’s National Lightning Detection Network to determine trends in lightning leading up to and immediately following each microburst. Total lightning was analyzed by counting all strikes within a 15 km radius of the storm centroid identified by the Thunderstorm Identification Tracking Analysis and Nowcasting (TITAN) software for each volume scan. Radar parameters were obtained from TITAN. Values of VIL, echo top height, cloud height, and lightning activity were graphed to identify trends. The results suggest that peaks in VIL are the best predictor of microburst activity in the Northeast, and total lightning is also a reliable predictor, slightly better than CG or IC lightning alone.
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