Monday, 14 January 2002: 3:44 PM
Using AWIPS and VORTEX findings to forecast qualitative probability of significant tornadoes
One of the biggest challenges currently facing a National Weather Service operational forecaster is the decision to warn or not to warn for a tornado. The NWS 88-D radar has enabled forecasters to clearly observe mesocyclones within thunderstorms, but resolution of the actual tornado is seldom possible due to the relatively small scale of the tornadic circulation. The national false alarm ratio (FAR) for tornado warnings in 2000 was 65%, and the National Weather Service has identified the reduction of tornado warning FAR as a primary goal. Recent research results published by Dr. Paul Markowski from the VORTEX experiment have given exciting new clues as to the possible ingredients for significant tornadoes. Many of these clues can be forecasted, directly observed, or inferred using AWIPS. It is likely that by using Dr. Markowski's research combined with AWIPS that operational forecasters have the opportunity to significantly improve the skill of tornado warnings.