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

Wednesday, 25 January 2012
CASA Radar Observations of the May 24, 2011, EF-4 Tornado in Chickasha, Oklahoma
Hall E (New Orleans Convention Center )
J. A. Brotzge, CAPS/Univ. of Oklahoma, Norman, OK

On the afternoon of May 24, 2011, a dozen tornadoes swept across central Oklahoma and which included at least one EF-5 and two EF-4 tornadoes. One of the EF-4 tornadoes initiated in the town of Chickasha, Oklahoma, and, fortunately, was well observed by a nearby CASA (X-band) radar. Located within 3 km of touchdown, the CASA radar obtained unprecedented low-level (~100 m AGL), high-spatial (~100 m), high-temporal (60-sec) resolution data of tornadogenesis and storm evolution. Detailed analysis of the radar imagery revealed two unexpected features. First, the tornado formed on a very fine boundary, likely associated with the rear flank downdraft, but which was not seen by the WSR-88Ds. Second, the boundary's interactions with outflow from a second storm to the south may have contributed directly to tornadogenesis. This example provides an excellent demonstration of how high-resolution radar data can be used for improving situational awareness and understanding, and which in turn could improve tornado warning lead-time and warning precision.

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