Third Conference on Meteorological Applications of Lightning Data


Total lightning observations of supercells in the warning decision process over North Central Texas

Christopher M. McKinney, Texas A&M Univ., College Station, TX; and L. D. Carey and G. R. Patrick

As part of a collaborative research project between Texas A&M University and the Fort Worth/ Dallas Weather Forecast Office of the National Weather Service, total lighting observations from Vaisala's Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) Lightning Detection and Ranging (LDAR II) network have been used to supplement Doppler radar measurements in the diagnosis of thunderstorm updraft strength and analysis of severe weather potential. More specifically, initial observations of two tornadic supercells from 25 April 2005 have shown that total lightning flash extent density (FED) and gridded source density either peaked prior to, or increased during reported severe weather events. Two lightning holes in the FED were observed within one of the supercells, as well as several notches in the total lightning FED data that likely corresponded to the updraft region. The second supercell displayed no lightning holes, but did display notches similar to the first supercell. These updraft signatures in the FED lighting data were found to correspond to weak echo regions in the KFWS WSR-88D radar reflectivity data. Additionally, lightning appendages in the FED on the right flank of the northern supercell appeared to precede shifts in direction for this cell, indicating a possible method for prediction of right or left hand deflections in supercell motion. Future work will extend this analysis to cover two more cases, including a left moving supercell on 5 April 2005 and a case from 13 April 2007 in which a linear MCS with embedded supercells produced several tornadoes in the network domain.

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Session 8, Use of Lightning Data in the Operational Warning and Decision Making Process
Wednesday, 23 January 2008, 4:00 PM-5:30 PM, 222

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