331 Improving Summertime Convective Wind Forecasting in the Southeastern United States

Monday, 8 January 2018
Exhibit Hall 3 (ACC) (Austin, Texas)
Ray L Christensen II, U.S. Air Force, Department of Defense, Barksdale Air Force Base, LA

Handout (535.9 kB)

Improving Summer-Time Convective Wind Forecasting In the Southeastern United States:

The United States Air Force’s (USAF) 26th Operational Weather Squadron (26 OWS) has hazardous weather warning responsibility for approximately 150 sites and bases stretching across the southern United States. USAF weather forecasters face a daunting challenge in that most customers require a 1-2 hour lead time for warnings of “moderate thunderstorms”. These products are issued when thunderstorms are expected to produce wind gusts from 35 to 49 knots and/or hail sizes of ¼ to ¾ inches. While not considered “severe” convection, these storms still pose a threat to life and government property. Improving the detection and forecast accuracy of these storms, while maintaining sufficient lead time, will increase the confidence of military decision makers to take the necessary actions in order to save lives and protect millions of dollars in aircraft and other high value assets. This poster will focus on improving warning detection of moderate thunderstorms that frequently occur across the 26 OWS’ area of responsibility from June through August. Weak cold fronts, surface troughs, or an upper trough (500mb/700mb) were found to be good predictors of the potential for “moderate thunderstorms”. Additionally; several instability, moisture and shear variables were found to be useful predictors. As a result of these findings, a checklist approach will be used leveraging the parameters that were found useful to help the forecaster assess the threat and then issue the required warnings.

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