Spring and Summer Midwestern Severe Weather Reports in Supercells Compared to Other Morphologies

Duda, Jeffrey
Gallus, William
Gallus, William
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Geological and Atmospheric Sciences

This study compares severe weather reports associated with the nine convective system morphologies used in a recent study by Gallus et al. to an additional morphology, supercell storms. As in that previous study, all convective systems occurring in a 10-state region covering parts of the Midwestern United States and central plains were classified according to their dominant morphology, and severe weather reports associated with each morphology were then analyzed. Unlike the previous study, which examined systems from 2002, the time period over which the climatology was performed was shifted to 2007 to allow access to radar algorithm information needed to classify a storm as a supercell. Archived radar imagery was used to classify systems as nonlinear convective events, isolated cells, clusters of cells, broken lines of cells, squall lines with no stratiform precipitation, trailing stratiform precipitation, parallel stratiform precipitation, and leading stratiform precipitation, and bow echoes. In addition, the three cellular classifications were subdivided to allow an analysis of severe weather reports for events in which supercells were present and those in which they were not. As in the earlier study, all morphologies were found to pose some risk of severe weather, and differences in the two datasets were generally small. The 2007 climatology confirmed the theory that supercellular systems produce severe weather more frequently than other morphologies, and also produce more intense severe weather. Supercell systems were especially prolific producers of tornadoes and hail relative to all other morphologies, but also produced severe wind and flooding much more often than nonsupercell cellular morphologies. These results suggest that it is important to differentiate between cellular morphologies containing rotation and those that do not when associating severe weather reports with convective morphology.


This article is from Weather and Forecasting 25 (2010): 190, doi: 10.1175/2009WAF2222338.1. Posted with permission.