Poster Session P3R.8 Predicting Severe Hail for the Southern High Plains and West Texas

Tuesday, 25 October 2005
Alvarado F and Atria (Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town)
Daniel Porter, NOAA/NWS, Albuquerque, NM; and M. R. Kramar and S. D. Landolt

Handout (208.8 kB)

One of the challenges encountered with National Weather Service warning operations is differentiating reflectivity signatures for hail from those of very heavy rain, and subsequently identifying hail size from reflectivity patterns. This issue becomes even more complicated when storms are located over sparsely populated areas, which makes real-time confirmation of conditions nearly impossible.

Current ongoing studies are being conducted to establish a statistical database of severe hail events for the upper Midwest and central Great Plains. This research examines atmospheric freezing levels and storm reflectivity core heights (greater than or equal to 50dBZ) based upon WSR-88D data. This data was correlated to reported hail size with subsequent operational success. No such comparable study has been conducted for the southern High Plains of eastern New Mexico and the western panhandles of Texas and Oklahoma.

RAOB soundings from Albuquerque, Denver, Amarillo and Midland, reflectivity data from nearby WSR-88D radars, and Storm Data reports from WFOs Albuquerque, Amarillo and Lubbock were examined to establish comparable seasonal statistics for anticipated hail size for southern High Plains thunderstorms. It is hoped that the results of this study will enable warning meteorologists to predict hail-size diameter and issue severe thunderstorm warnings with a higher degree of confidence, and consequently increase average warning lead time.

- Indicates paper has been withdrawn from meeting
- Indicates an Award Winner