Faculty Publications

Title

Evaluation of the pre-convective environment for tornado-producing thunderstorms

Document Type

Article

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Compass

Volume

75

Issue

1

First Page

1

Last Page

7

Abstract

A case study of a severe weather outbreak in Iowa is presented. Large hail and several tornadoes were spawned by supercell thunderstorms that moved eastward across the state during the late afternoon hours of 27 July 1995. Traditional diagnostic techniques are applied to observations of the pre-convective environment to access the potential for severe weather. Abundant surface moisture and favorable moisture transport are diagnosed, along with potential instability and convective available potential energy. Upper-level divergence across Iowa suggests the potential for large-scale ascent to release the instability through moist convection. Vertical wind shear is also assessed and found to favor supercell formation. The results establish that real-time application of these diagnostic techniques would have been successful in anticipating the severe weather that ensued.

Original Publication Date

12-1-1999

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