92nd American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting (January 22-26, 2012)

Wednesday, 25 January 2012
April 27-28th Tornado Event in the Washington, DC Metropolitan Area
Hall E (New Orleans Convention Center )
Lorenza Cooper Jr., Howard University, Washington, DC

Tornado producing thunderstorms in the Washington, DC metropolitan area is infrequent, and often weak and short-lived. Densely populated urban centers and vast suburban sprawl characteristic of this region has proven to be problematic because of the potential for extensive loss of life and property. In spite that the Washington area does not experience the severity or quantity of tornadoes that havoc Tornado and Dixie Alley states, damaging tornadoes have left scars on the landscape. The College Park, Maryland 24 September 2001 and La Plata, Maryland tornado of 28 April 2002 are two events that showcase the region's vulnerability to rare, powerful, and fatal tornadoes. The most recent 27-28 April 2011 Super Tornado Outbreak did not spare the Washington, DC metropolitan area. With preliminary reports of 7 tornado touchdowns, all of which were EF-1 or lower, it is imperative that the dynamics that lead to tornado development in this region is studied extensively for improving forecasting and nowcasting.

The Howard University Climate Observation Center aims to observe and model the interaction between the atmosphere and the urban-suburban landscape of the Washington, DC region. An array of ground-based measuring instruments is mobilized, the most notable continuously observe the atmosphere. These include the microwave radiometer, ceilometer, wind profiler, and 30-meter flux tower. Data retrieved and analyzed from these instruments will be partnered with observations taken by collaborators across the Washington area to diagnose atmospheric conditions prior to and during the event. This data will be inputted into the Weather Research and Forecasting Model in effort to improve operational forecasting of severe weather events by understanding which meteorological variables are of most significance.

Supplementary URL: