Discriminating near-tornado atmospheric environments between Dixie Alley and Tornado Alley

Authors: Zoe Schroder*, Florida State University, Andrew Mercer, Mississippi State University, Michael Brown, Mississippi State University
Topics: Hazards, Risks, and Disasters, Earth Science
Keywords: Tornadoes
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/14/2018
Start / End Time: 4:00 PM / 5:40 PM
Room: Napoleon B3, Sheraton 3rd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Tornadoes frequently occur in Tornado Alley (Northern Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska) and Dixie Alley (Louisiana, Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia). This study utilizes 00Z sounding variables taken within 3-hours and 80 km of a tornado event over the period 1995-2016 to compare and contrast the near-tornado environment of the two regions statistically (bootstrapping and cluster analysis). Thermodynamic variables were best able to discriminate between Dixie Alley and Tornado Alley. Tornado environments across Dixie Alley featured lower Lifting Condensation Level heights and less Convective Available Potential Energy relative to Tornado Alley. The Energy Helicity Index as a combination of thermodynamic and kinematic variables showed the greatest potential in discriminating tornado environments between these two geographically distinct regions.

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