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Simultaneous Tornado and Flash Flood Events during Tropical Cyclones

Authors: Daniel Burow*, University of Tennessee, Kelsey Ellis, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Topics: Climatology and Meteorology, Hazards, Risks, and Disasters
Keywords: Hazards, tropical cyclones, tornadoes, flooding
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Simultaneous tornado and flash flood warnings (abbreviated "TORFFs") present a uniquely dangerous intersection of hazards because recommended protective actions are opposites: seek higher ground during floods, and shelter at or below ground level during tornadoes. Tropical cyclones are known to spawn tornadoes, while torrential rainfall, especially from slow-moving storms like Harvey (2017) and Florence (2018), commonly produces flash flooding. We analyze TORFF occurrence in several tropical cyclone environments (TCTORFFs) with respect to tropical cyclone quadrant, radius from center, and embedded regions of convective precipitation. We also examine observed tropical cyclone tornadoes near regions of flash flooding, and compare these events to tropical cyclone tornadoes that do not occur near flooding. Our findings help establish a climatology of these complex hazards for research, forecasting, and emergency management.

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