Session 10A.5 Analysis of a Texas tornado outbreak involving three modalities of enhanced tornadogenesis

Wednesday, 3 August 2005: 9:00 AM
Ambassador Ballroom (Omni Shoreham Hotel Washington D.C.)
Lon Curtis, KWTX-TV, Waco, TX

Presentation PDF (731.3 kB)

An outbreak of 23 tornadoes on March 30, 2002 in Texas occurred in three distinct areas of the state as a strong mid- and upper-level vorticity center advanced eastward from far western Texas. An east-west baroclinic zone across the center of the state became quasi- stationary and was involved in two of the three areas of tornadogenesis. For more than two decades, various authors have suggested the probable role of baroclinic zones (such as stalled fronts and thunderstorm outflow boundaries) in enhancing the potential for tornadogenesis.

Each of the three distinct areas of tornadogenesis has been examined utilizing objective analysis in an attempt to define the near-storm environment and other meteorological elements that led to tornadogenesis. The research makes use of output from surface and upper air observation systems, remotely sensed data such as WSR-88D output and GOES satellite imagery, and the backward projection of low-level parcel trajectories (using the NOAA Air Resources Laboratory HYSPLIT model, a system for computing simple air parcel trajectories) to better define and assess low-level parcel origin and quality across the areas of tornadogenesis.

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