552 Improvements in Nowcasting for High-Impact Severe Weather Events with Continuous Real-Time Thermodynamic Profiles

Tuesday, 24 January 2017
4E (Washington State Convention Center )
Kimberly A. Reed, Radiometrics, Boulder, CO; and D. Berchoff, L. Blanchette, J. D. Hardy, M. Nelson, R. Ware, and T. Wilfong

Every year in the United States, many lives are lost and billions of dollars are spent on the repercussions of high-impact severe weather events.  Although multi-day outlooks are increasing in accuracy, decisions that affect life and safety are typically not made until a credible threat is occurring.  As such, nowcasting plays a critical role in alerting the decision makers of these impending events.  While high-resolution models certainly help with nowcasting accuracy, real-time thermodynamic profiles provide the ability to continuously monitor rapidly evolving atmospheric conditions.  These profiles provide early and frequently updating instability information that is key to the convective initiation process, particularly before traditional visual indicators such as the formation of clouds and radar echoes are present.  This paper will focus on the unexpected winter-season tornadic severe weather event that occurred on 26 December 2015 in and around the Dallas, TX area.  An analysis of atmospheric conditions from multiple sources leading up to and during the event will demonstrate the value of continuous atmospheric thermodynamic profiles to nowcasting accuracy.                          

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