VORTEX SE: Supported Research 2016

Improving Forecast Models

Storm-scale Ensemble Forecasts of Cool Season Severe Weather during VORTEX-Southeast

Lead investigators: Skinner, NOAA National Severe Storm Laboratory

Goal: Develop and test short-range numerical forecast capabilities for cool-season tornadoes in the southeastern U.S. using the NSSL WoF System for Ensembles (NeWS). This work will lead to the ability to make computer prediction of tornadic storms up to one hour in advance.

OAR Laboratory Activity

Tornado prediction in tropical cyclones

Lead investigators: Kaplan, Gopalakrishnan, NOAA Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory

Goal: Combine observational studies and numerical prediction studies to improve forecasting of the occurrence of tornadoes in landfalling tropical cyclones. This knowledge will improve our ability to predict which tropical cyclones may be likely to produce tornadoes as they make landfall.

OAR Laboratory Activity

Demonstration of a Cycled High­Resolution Rapid Refresh Capability During a Cool­Season Tornado Outbreak

Lead investigators: Whitaker, Benjamin, NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory

Goal: Develop and test the ability to forecast the development of environments favoring tornadoes using the HRRR model, including tests of cool-season and marginal-CAPE cases. Historically, tornadoes in these environments have been difficult to forecast, and this work should improve our ability to anticipate the development of conditions favoring tornadoes.

OAR Laboratory Activity

Resolution Dependence of Simulated Convective Storms in the Southeast United States

Lead investigator: Romine, National Center for Atmospheric Research

Goal: This study seeks to analyze and improve numerical models especially for the purpose of predicting tornadoes from Quasi-Linear Convective Systems, a problem of special interest in the southeastern U.S.

NOAA Grant to University

Addressing Risk Awareness and Response, and Tornado Damage Mitigation

Addressing Interconnections between the Built and Natural Environments through Post-Event Damage Surveys

Lead investigators: Godfrey, University of North Carolina at Asheville; Lombardo, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign; Peterson, University of Georgia

Goal: This study seeks to characterize the interconnected nature of debris and damage propagation within communities by carefully examining both the built and natural environment through detailed damage surveys following tornadoes. A better understanding of these interconnections should help to identify ways to mitigate risk from tornadoes.

NOAA Grant to University

Tornado warning response in the Southeast: Advancing knowledge for action in Tennessee

Lead investigators: Ellis, Mason; University of Tennessee

Goal: This study aims to further understand and improve public response to tornado warnings in the Southeast. Special emphasis will be placed on the differences in response between daytime and nighttime tornadoes (that are of special concern in the southeast).

NOAA Grant to University

Complacency and False Alarms in Tornado Affected Communities

Lead investigators: Egnoto, Liu; University of Maryland

Goal: This study seeks to understand the relationship between tornado warning false alarms and complacency. The new knowledge should help emergency managers work with their communities to reduce complacency, leading to a reduction in casualties from tornadoes.

NOAA Grant to University

Understanding the Current Flow of Weather Information and Associated Uncertainty, and Their Affect on Emergency Managers and General Publics

Lead investigators: LaDue and Friedman, University of Oklahoma; Myers, University of Alabama at Birmingham

Goal: This project studies the role of uncertainty in the tornado warning process and the use of weather information as it filters through the various communication channels and eventually reaches the public. By thoroughly understanding the current system, future changes to the system can make it more effective.

OAR Laboratory Activity

Observing and Modelling Tornadic Storms and their Environments

Multi-year WSR-88D radar climatology of tornadic storms in the SE United States

Lead investigators: Smith, Ortega, NOAA National Severe Storm Laboratory

Goal: to develop a climatology of storm cell radar echo types associated with tornadic convective storms in SE United States. This climatology will be useful for planning field campaigns, and to inform forecaster regarding the likelihood of tornadoes given the storm type and environmental conditions.

OAR Laboratory Activity

Measurements of the effects of surface roughness and surface energy budget in the southeast

Lead investigators: Baker, NOAA Air Resources Laboratory

Goal: Assess the physical state of the land surface and boundary layer and their interactions using a combination of high-resolution observations from 3-D lidars, rawinsondes, sUAS and detailed surface flux measurements in the Huntsville, Alabama area. These observations will be used to assess mesoscale heterogeneity, land surface variability and thermodynamic characteristics of the atmosphere during severe weather episodes. This knowledge will lead to a better understanding of how local conditions can lead to more favorable environments for tornadoes when conventional understanding would indicate tornadoes are unlikely.

OAR Laboratory Activity

VORTEX-SE: Infrastructure development, initial data analysis, and field campaign activities

Lead investigators: Knupp, University of Alabama at Huntsville

Goal: This project will develop a mobile profiling system to augment the observing capabilities already present at UAH, and collect important observations for improving our understanding of tornadic storms in the southeastern U.S.

Funding for Instruments & Field Operations

Improved Understanding of Tornado Development and Risk using Models and Observations from VORTEX-SE

Lead investigators: Baldwin et al., Purdue University and the University of Massachusetts

Goal: This project combines a variety of tools to examine tornado problems of special interest in the southeastern U.S., including numerical modeling, mobile observations of precipitation particles at the surface and aloft, and statistical risk modeling to begin to associate atmospheric conditions with the risk of tornadoes (especially cool-season).

NOAA Grant to University

VORTEX-SE: Polarimetric Radar-based Field Campaign Activities and Storm Scale Studies

Lead investigators: Carey, University of Alabama at Huntsville

Goal: Observe storms with Doppler/polarimetric radars, lightning mapping arrays, and disdrometers to improve our understanding of the relationships between microphysics, lightning, and tornado production. The new knowledge will improve the ability of forecasters to discriminate between potentially tornadic storms, and storms of less concern.

NOAA Grant to University

Multi-disciplinary investigation of concurrent tornadoes and flash floods in the Southeastern US

Lead investigator: Schumacher, Colorado State University

Goal: This study will investigate how events that feature both tornadoes and flash floods in the southeastern U.S. differ from tornado-only events, both in terms of the differences in environments, as well as the challenge to NWS forecasters and users of the warnings.

NOAA Grant to University

Understanding the variability and predictability of southeastern severe storm environments using mobile soundings during VORTEX-SE

Lead investigator: Brown, Mississippi State University; Parker, North Carolina State University; Murphy, University of Louisiana at Monroe

Goal: This study will use mobile sounding launches to begin to assess the way the environment becomes favorable for tornadoes in the southeast. Understanding the rapid changes and geographic variability of instability and shear will lead to improved forecasts of tornadoes.

NOAA Grant to University

VORTEX-SE: Improving Understanding and Predictability of Tornadic Storms in the Southeastern U.S. Using Intensive Observations and High-Resolution Modeling

Lead investigator: Weiss, Bruning, Dahl, Texas Tech University; Dowell, Alexander NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory

Goal: This study will utilize surface weather probes, mobile ballooning, and lightning mapping array stations to measure local variations in environmental conditions and the character of storm-produced pools of cold air. These observations will be used in a version of the HRRR forecast model to further understand the role of local variations in environmental conditions and behavior of the cold pools.

NOAA Grant to University

CLAMPS profiler system to observe the environments of tornadic storms in VORTEX-SE

Lead investigator: Turner, NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory

Goal: The CLAMPS deployable profiling system will make frequent measurements of boundary layer winds and thermodynamic profile. These measurements are vital to determine how locally favorable environments for tornadic storms develop rapidly in the southeastern United States.

Funding for Instruments & Field Operations

Managing VORTEX-SE

VORTEX-SE Workshop Funding & Program Management

Lead agency: NOAA National Severe Storm Laboratory

Goal: This task comprises workshop coordination and funding, as well as monitoring the progress of the other research efforts, fostering collaborations, and leading the overall effort to improve understanding of tornado problems unique to the southeastern U.S.

Workshop Funding & Project Management