Convective mode of storms producing tornadoes in Tennessee: Climatology and implications for forecasters

Authors: Kelsey Ellis*, University of Tennessee, Lisa Mason, University of Tennessee, Kelly Gassert, University of Tennessee, Daniel Burow, University of Tennessee
Topics: Climatology and Meteorology, Hazards, Risks, and Disasters, Hazards and Vulnerability
Keywords: hazards, climatology, tornadoes
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/14/2018
Start / End Time: 2:00 PM / 3:40 PM
Room: Napoleon B3, Sheraton 3rd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

The state of Tennessee is prone to violent tornadoes on a year-round basis from a variety of storm types. This project incorporates mixed methods to assess the climatology of convective modes producing tornadoes in Tennessee and its relation to warning generation through quantitative and qualitative analyses. The climatology of convective modes was analyzed to determine an association with fatalities, seasonality, time of day, and magnitude, and how these characteristics varied across the state. Chi-squared tests were conducted to determine if these patterns were significant. Time of day (nocturnal vs. daytime), season, and region of Tennessee all significantly contributed to convective mode type. National Weather Service forecasters from the three Weather Forecast Offices (WFO) in the state were interviewed to gain insight into how convective mode affects tornado forecasting and warning procedures. Major themes from these interviews included the challenges associated with forecasting tornadoes in quasi-linear convective systems compared to the ease of discrete supercells, consideration of false alarms and probability of detection, and additional challenges when tornadic events occur overnight, including lack of information from the public.

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