Fourth AMS Student Conference


Cloud-to-ground lightning production in strongly forced, low-instability convective lines associated with damaging wind

Matthew S. Van Den Broeke, National Weather Center REU, University of Oklahoma, Valparaiso, IN; and D. M. Schultz, R. H. Johns, J. S. Evans, and J. E. Hales

During 911 November 1998 and 910 March 2002, two similar convective lines moved across the central and eastern United States. Both convective lines initiated over the southern plains along strong cold fronts in moderately unstable environments. Both lines were initially associated with cloud-to-ground (CG) lightning, as detected by the National Lightning Detection Network, and both events met the criteria to be classified as derechos, producing swaths of widespread damaging wind. After moving into areas of marginal, if any, instability over the upper Midwest, CG lightning production ceased or diminished substantially, although damaging wind continued. The 9 March 2002 line experienced a second phase of frequent CG lightning farther east over the midAtlantic states. Analysis of these two events shows that the production of CG lightning was sensitive to the occurrence and vertical distribution of instability. Periods with frequent CG lightning were associated with sufficient instability in the lower mixed-phase region of the cloud (i.e., the temperature range approximately between 10 and 20C) and an equilibrium level colder than 20C, whereas instability was very limited or nonexistent in the lower mixed-phase region for periods with little or no CG lightning. Current Storm Prediction Center guidelines for forecasting these convective lines are discussed.

Poster Session 1, Student Conference Poster Session
Sunday, 9 January 2005, 5:30 PM-5:30 PM

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