164 Operational Applications of Environmental and Radar Predictors for Tornado Intensity

Tuesday, 29 August 2017
Zurich (Swissotel Chicago)
Matthew Friedlein, NOAA/NWS, Romeoville, IL; and B. Deubelbeiss, E. Lenning, A. W. Clayton, and A. Lyza

Handout (1.9 MB)

An important goal of National Weather Service (NWS) warning products is to elicit a proper safety response from the public. In recent years, Impact-Based Warning (IBW) tags have been included in some NWS tornado warnings in order to convey the potential for greater damage from a particular event. The ability to anticipate this increased threat is due in part to Doppler radar advancements and research correlating storm signatures and environmental factors to tornado severity. One goal of this IBW approach is to stress the greater impact of the EF-2 to EF-5 tornadoes that are 30 times more likely to produce a fatality than EF-0/EF-1 tornadoes.

This presentation will explore the operational use of tornado severity predictors, most notably from an NWS Chicago effort to determine whether tornado intensity can be anticipated with confidence based on near-storm environmental conditions together with radar velocity and dual-polarization signatures. We will apply this predictive science-based strategy to independent tornado cases and compare lead time in tornado strength detection with other existing, often more diagnostic indicators. Operational uses and some real time challenges will also be discussed.

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