S26 Measured Severe Convective Wind Gust Climatology of Thunderstorms for the Contiguous United States, 2003-2009

Sunday, 23 January 2011
Bryan T. Smith, NOAA/NWS/NCEP/SPC, Norman, OK; and A. C. Winters, C. M. Mead, A. R. Dean, and T. E. Castellanos

A severe convective wind gust climatology spanning 2003-2009 for the contiguous United States is developed using measured Automated Surface Observing System (ASOS), Automated Weather Observing System (AWOS), and Oklahoma Mesonet wind observations. National Lightning Detection Network and Radar Mosaic/Level II data are used amongst other quality control checks to identify and remove erroneous observational data. The filtered observations are then time matched with a number of diagnostic mesoanalysis fields from the Storm Prediction Center (SPC) for assessment of the severe convective wind gust environments. These data are then binned based on season and geographic region in order to identify atmospheric regimes characteristic to different parts of the country. The filtered observations are compared to storm reports archived by the SPC. Finally, a relatively denser surface observing network in Oklahoma is utilized to determine how consistently severe convective wind gusts are recorded by differing networks (i.e. ASOS/AWOS and Oklahoma Mesonet).

This study characterizes and contextualizes observations associated with southeast weak shear environments and contiguous U.S. strong deep layer shear, higher CAPE atmospheric regimes. Additionally, results exemplify the usefulness and necessity of a dense observing system network and demonstrate that the highest frequency of measured wind gusts occur throughout the southern and central High Plains and in a corridor from South Dakota across the southern Great Lakes region.

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