89th American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting

Sunday, 11 January 2009
An analysis of the 2007-2008 tornado cool season
Phoenix Convention Center
Madison L. Burnett, National Weather Center Research Experience for Undergraduates, Norman, OK; and G. W. Carbin and J. Schaefer
The first part of 2008 was particularly active in terms of tornado outbreaks and fatalities in the United States. The media quickly portrayed the severe weather during the start of the year as unusual, if not record-breaking. One of the main stories addressed was the number of tornadoes and tornado-related fatalities that occurred during the fall and winter. This sparked questions as to the causes of such an active cool season and how this season compared with others.

Defining “cool season” as the 6 month period from October to March, this study analyzes the 2007-2008 cool season tornado outbreaks in terms of frequency, number of fatalities, and tornado strength based on Enhanced Fujita scale ratings. Data from the Storm Prediction Center's Storm Event Database was utilized to determine the uniqueness of the 2007-2008 cool season tornado outbreaks as compared to the last 50 cool seasons. Our results will more accurately define the significance of this season with respect to the past 50 years in order to aid the media and other interested parties in quantifying this active period of time. Trends in cool season outbreak activity will also be investigated.

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