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Mapping Errors of Tornado Pathcasts: Distance Errors and Tornado Track Probability Cone

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Wednesday, 26 January 2011
Mapping Errors of Tornado Pathcasts: Distance Errors and Tornado Track Probability Cone
William M. Davis Jr., University of Southern Mississippi, Gulfport, MS

WSR-88D radars are often used to determine the location and projected path of severe weather without the understanding of their limitations. For example, location errors exist between comparisons of tornado paths from damage surveys to those projected by radar pathcasts. Determining path error statistics can lead to improved tornado track forecast in terms of reduced spatial timing errors, resulting in an increase in safety and awareness to the general public. Track probabilities can also be utilized, as commonly done by the National Hurricane Center.

The purpose of this paper is to document a potential statistical forecast guidance tool for use by tornado forecasters and researchers. By comparing tornado tracks for Calendar year 2008 across portions of Tornado Alley, Iowa and Arkansas to damage surveys, the following objectives will be fulfilled: (1) a determination of pathcast statistical track errors, and; (2) a probability track cone prototype.