Composites of Tornadic and Nontornadic Severe Weather Outbreaks in the Northeast

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Sunday, 2 February 2014
Hall C3 (The Georgia World Congress Center )
Andrew M. Fisher, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ

Severe weather outbreaks often occur throughout the United States, and frequently these outbreaks cause detrimental effects on physical structures and to the lives of those people affected. Although the most powerful and destructive severe weather events happen in the “tornado alley” region of the Mid-West and the Great Plains region of the United States, severe weather outbreaks of great magnitude do strike the Northeast region of the United States as well. Severe weather events that occur in the Northeast often have a much greater societal impact due in part to a larger population and the high population density of several northeastern cities and suburbs. The general population of the Northeast has the potential to be more vulnerable than the population of people in other parts of the country where tornados are more frequent. When a tornado strikes a town in the Northeast, many communities are caught off guard and know little of what to do in such a situation because of lack of experience. To better understand why tornados occur in the Northeast, several past severe weather outbreaks have been studied, from 2001-2012, to determine the difference synoptically of tornadic and nontornadic weather events in the region. Recent research has examined the physical difference between nontornadic and tornadic severe weather events to determine what most influences tornado development during various types of outbreaks. In this study, synoptic scale composites are used to compare the atmospheric patterns in the Northeast during these events to atmospheric patterns in other parts of the country.