• Bech, J., M. Gaya, M. Aran, F. Figuerola, J. Amaro, and J. Arus, 2009: Tornado damage analysis of a forest area using site survey observations, radar data and a simple vortex model. Atmos. Res., 93, 118130.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Beck, V., and N. Dotzek, 2010: Reconstruction of near-surface tornado wind fields from forest damage. J. Appl. Meteor. Climatol., 49, 15171537.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Bluestein, H. B., 2000: A tornadic supercell over elevated, complex terrain: The Divide, Colorado, storm of 12 July 1996. Mon. Wea. Rev., 128, 795809.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Bluestein, H. B., J. G. LaDue, H. Stein, D. Speheger, and W. P. Unruh, 1993: Doppler radar wind spectra of supercell tornadoes. Mon. Wea. Rev., 121, 22002221.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Bluestein, H. B., W. P. Unruh, D. C. Dowell, T. A. Hutchinson, T. M. Crawford, A. C. Wood, and H. Stein, 1997: Doppler radar analysis of the Northfield, Texas, tornado of 25 May 1994. Mon. Wea. Rev., 125, 212230.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Bluestein, H. B., M. M. French, R. L. Tanamachi, S. Frasier, K. Hardwick, F. Junyent, and A. L. Pazmany, 2007: Close-range observations of tornadoes in supercells made with a dual-polarization, X-band, mobile, Doppler radar. Mon. Wea. Rev., 135, 15221543.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Bosart, L. F., A. Seimon, K. D. LaPenta, and M. J. Dickinson, 2006: Tornadogenesis over complex terrain: The Great Barrington, Massachusetts, tornado on 29 May 1995. Wea. Forecasting, 21, 897922.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Brown, R. A., L. R. Lemon, and D. W. Burgess, 1978: Tornado detection by pulsed Doppler radar. Mon. Wea. Rev., 106, 2938.

  • Budney, L. J., 1965: Unique damage patterns caused by a tornado in dense woodlands. Weatherwise, 18, 7477, 86.

  • Cassano, J. J., P. Uotila, and A. Lynch, 2006: Changes in synoptic weather patterns in the polar regions in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, Part 1: Arctic. Int. J. Climatol., 26, 10271049.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Ćurić, M., D. Janc, and V. Vučković, 2007: Numerical simulation of a Cb cloud vorticity. Atmos. Res., 83, 427434.

  • Davies-Jones, R. P., 1986: Tornado dynamics. Thunderstorm Morphology and Dynamics, E. Kessler, Ed., Thunderstorms: A Social, Scientific, and Technological Documentary, Vol. II, University of Oklahoma Press, 197–236.

  • Davies-Jones, R. P., D. W. Burgess, L. R. Lemon, and D. Purcell, 1978: Interpretation of surface marks and debris patterns from the 24 May 1973 Union City, Oklahoma tornado. Mon. Wea. Rev., 106, 1221.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Finley, C. A., and B. D. Lee, 2004: High resolution mobile mesonet observations of RFD surges in the June 9 Basset, Nebraska supercell during Project ANSWERS 2003. Preprints, 22nd Conf. on Severe Local Storms, Hyannis, MA, Amer. Meteor. Soc., P11.3. [Available online at https://ams.confex.com/ams/pdfpapers/82005.pdf.]

  • Finley, C. A., and B. D. Lee, 2008: Mobile mesonet observations of an intense RFD and multiple gust fronts in the May 23 Quinter, Kansas tornadic supercell during TWISTEX 2008. Preprints, 24th Conf. on Severe Local Storms, Savannah, GA, Amer. Meteor. Soc., P3.18. [Available online at https://ams.confex.com/ams/pdfpapers/142133.pdf]

  • Frame, J. W., and P. M. Markowski, 2006: The interaction of simulated squall lines with idealized mountain ridges. Mon. Wea. Rev., 134, 19191941.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Fujita, T. T., 1981: Tornadoes and downbursts in the context of generalized planetary scales. J. Atmos. Sci., 38, 15111534.

  • Fujita, T. T., 1989: The Teton–Yellowstone tornado of 21 July 1987. Mon. Wea. Rev., 117, 19131940.

  • Fujita, T. T., D. L. Bradbury, and P. G. Black, 1967: Estimation of tornado wind speed from characteristic ground marks. University of Chicago SMRP Res. Paper 69, 19 pp.

  • Fujita, T. T., D. L. Bradbury, and C. F. Van Thullenar, 1970: Palm Sunday tornadoes of April 11, 1965. Mon. Wea. Rev., 98, 2969.

  • Fujita, T. T., G. S. Forbes, and T. A. Umenhofer, 1976: Close-up view of 20 March 1976 tornadoes: Sinking cloud tops to suction vortices. Weatherwise, 29, 116131.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Golden, J. H., and D. Purcell, 1977: Photogrammetric velocities of the Great Bend, Kansas, tornado of 30 August 1974: Accelerations and asymmetries. Mon. Wea. Rev., 105, 485492.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Golden, J. H., and D. Purcell, 1978: Airflow characteristics around the Union City tornado. Mon. Wea. Rev., 106, 2228.

  • Gumbel, E. J., 1958: Statistics of Extremes. Columbia University Press, 375 pp.

  • Gutowski, W. J., F. O. Otieno, R. W. Arritt, E. S. Takle, and Z. Pan, 2004: Diagnosis and attribution of a seasonal precipitation deficit in a U.S. regional climate simulation. J. Hydrometeor., 5, 230242.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hall, F., and R. D. Brewer, 1959: A sequence of tornado damage patterns. Mon. Wea. Rev., 87, 207216.

  • Hannesen, R., N. Dotzek, H. Gysi, and K. D. Beheng, 1998: Case study of a tornado in the Upper Rhine Valley. Meteor. Z., 7, 163170.

  • Hannesen, R., N. Dotzek, and J. Handwerker, 2000: Radar analysis of a tornado over hilly terrain on 23 July 1996. Phys. Chem. Earth B, 25, 10791084.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Holland, A. P., A. J. Riordan, and E. C. Franklin, 2006: A simple model for simulating tornado damage in forests. J. Appl. Meteor. Climatol., 45, 15971611.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • LaPenta, K. D., L. F. Bosart, T. J. Galarneau Jr., and M. J. Dickinson, 2005: A multiscale examination of the 31 May 1998 Mechanicville, New York, tornado. Wea. Forecasting, 20, 494516.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Le, K., F. L. Haan Jr., W. A. Gallus Jr., and P. P. Sarkar, 2008: CFD simulations of the flow field of a laboratory-simulated tornado for parameter sensitivity studies and comparison with field measurements. Wind Struct., 11, 7596.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Lee, B. D., C. A. Finley, and P. Skinner, 2004: Thermodynamic and kinematic analysis of multiple RFD surges for the 24 June 2003 Manchester, South Dakota cyclic tornadic supercell during Project ANSWERS 2003. Preprints, 22nd Conf. on Severe Local Storms, Hyannis, MA, Amer. Meteor. Soc., P11.2.

  • Lee, B. D., C. A. Finley, C. D. Karstens, and T. M. Samaras, 2010: Surface observations of the rear-flank downdraft evolution associated with the Aurora, NE tornado of 17 June 2009. Preprints, 25th Conf. on Severe Local Storms, Denver, CO, Amer. Meteor. Soc., P8.27. [Available online at https://ams.confex.com/ams/pdfpapers/176133.pdf]

  • Lee, B. D., C. A. Finley, and C. D. Karstens, 2012: The Bowdle, South Dakota, cyclic tornadic supercell of 22 May 2010: Surface analysis of rear-flank downdraft evolution and multiple internal surges. Mon. Wea. Rev., 140, 34193441.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Lemon, L. R., and M. Umscheid, 2008: The Greensburg, Kansas tornadic storm: A storm of extremes. Preprints, 24th Conf. on Severe Local Storms, Savannah, GA, Amer. Meteor. Soc., 2.4. [Available online at https://ams.confex.com/ams/pdfpapers/141811.pdf]

  • Letzmann, J. P., 1923: Das Bewegungsfeld im Fuß einer fortschreitenden Wind- oder Wasserhose (The flow field at the base of an advancing tornado). Ph.D. thesis, University of Helsinki, 136 pp.

  • Lewellen, D. C., and M. I. Zimmerman, 2008: Using simulated tornado surface marks to help decipher near-ground wind fields. Preprints, 24th Conf. on Severe Local Storms, Savannah, GA, Amer. Meteor. Soc., 8B.1. [Available online at https://ams.confex.com/ams/pdfpapers/141749.pdf]

  • Lewellen, D. C., W. S. Lewellen, and J. Xia, 2000: The influence of a local swirl ratio on tornado intensification near the surface. J. Atmos. Sci., 57, 527544.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Lewellen, W. S., D. C. Lewellen, and R. I. Sykes, 1997: Large-eddy simulation of a tornado’s interaction with the surface. J. Atmos. Sci., 54, 581605.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Markowski, P. M., and N. Dotzek, 2011: A numerical study of the effects of orography on supercells. Atmos. Res., 100, 457478.

  • Marquis, J. M., Y. Richardson, P. Markowski, D. Dowell, and J. Wurman, 2012: Tornado maintenance investigated with high-resolution dual-Doppler and EnKF analysis. Mon. Wea. Rev., 140, 327.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Peterson, C. J., 2003: Factors influencing treefall risk in tornadoes in natural forests. Preprints, Symp. on the F-Scale and Severe-Weather Damage Assessment, Long Beach, CA, Amer. Meteor. Soc., 3.1. [Available online at https://ams.confex.com/ams/pdfpapers/53292.pdf]

  • Smith, T. M., and K. L. Elmore, 2004: The use of radial velocity derivative to diagnose rotation and divergence. Preprints, 11th Conf. on Aviation, Range, and Aerospace Meteorology, Hyannis, MA, Amer. Meteor. Soc., 5.6. [Available online at https://ams.confex.com/ams/pdfpapers/81827.pdf]

  • USGS, cited 2011: Seamless data warehouse. U.S. Geological Survey. [Available online at http://seamless.usgs.gov.]

  • Wakimoto, R. M., N. T. Atkins, and J. Wurman, 2011: The LaGrange tornado during VORTEX2. Part I: Photogrammetric analysis of the tornado combined with single-Doppler radar data. Mon. Wea. Rev., 139, 22332258.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Wakimoto, R. M., P. Stauffer, W. Lee, N. T. Atkins, and J. Wurman, 2012: Finescale structure of the LaGrange, Wyoming, tornado during VORTEX2: GBVTD and photogrammetric analyses. Mon. Wea. Rev., 140, 33973418.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Western, A. W., R. B. Grayson, G. Blöschl, G. R. Willgoose, and T. A. McMahon, 1999: Observed spatial organization of soil moisture and its relation to terrain indices. Water Resour. Res., 35, 797810.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Wilcoxon, F., 1945: Individual comparisons by ranking methods. Biom. Bull., 1, 8083.

  • WSEC, 2006: A recommendation for an enhanced Fujita scale (EF-scale). Texas Tech University Wind Science and Engineering Center Rep., 111 pp. [Available online at http://www.spc.noaa.gov/faq/tornado/ef-ttu.pdf.]

  • Wurman, J., and C. R. Alexander, 2005: The 30 May 1998 Spencer, South Dakota, storm. Part II: Comparison of observed damage and radar-derived winds in the tornadoes. Mon. Wea. Rev., 133, 97119.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Yamartino, R. J., 1984: A comparison of several “single-pass” estimators of the standard deviation of wind direction. J. Climate Appl. Meteor., 23, 13621366.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 1127 691 18
PDF Downloads 699 396 13

Analysis of Tornado-Induced Tree Fall Using Aerial Photography from the Joplin, Missouri, and Tuscaloosa–Birmingham, Alabama, Tornadoes of 2011

View More View Less
  • 1 Department of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa
  • | 2 WindLogics, Inc., Grand Rapids, Minnesota
Restricted access

Abstract

In this study, aerial imagery of tornado damage is used to digitize the falling direction of trees (i.e., tree fall) along the 22 May 2011 Joplin, Missouri, and 27 April 2011 Tuscaloosa–Birmingham, Alabama, tornado tracks. Normalized mean patterns of observed tree fall from each tornado’s peak-intensity period are subjectively compared with results from analytical vortex simulations of idealized tornado-induced tree fall to characterize mean properties of the near-surface flow as depicted by the model. A computationally efficient method of simulating tree fall is applied that uses a Gumbel distribution of critical tree-falling wind speeds on the basis of the enhanced Fujita scale. Results from these simulations suggest that both tornadoes had strong radial near-surface winds. A few distinct tree-fall patterns are identified at various locations along the Tuscaloosa–Birmingham tornado track. Concentrated bands of intense tree fall, collocated with and aligned parallel to the axis of underlying valley channels, extend well beyond the primary damage path. These damage patterns are hypothesized to be the result of flow acceleration caused by channeling within valleys. Another distinct pattern of tree fall, likely not linked to the underlying topography, may have been associated with a rear-flank downdraft (RFD) internal surge during the tornado’s intensification stage. Here, the wind field was strong enough to produce tornado-strength damage well beyond the visible funnel cloud. This made it difficult to distinguish between tornado- and RFD-related damage and thus illustrates an ambiguity in ascertaining tornado-damage-path width in some locations.

Supplemental information related to this paper is available at the Journals Online website: http://dx.doi.org/10.1175/JAMC-D-12-0206.s1.

Corresponding author address: Christopher D. Karstens, 3015 Agronomy, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011. E-mail: karstens.chris@gmail.com

Abstract

In this study, aerial imagery of tornado damage is used to digitize the falling direction of trees (i.e., tree fall) along the 22 May 2011 Joplin, Missouri, and 27 April 2011 Tuscaloosa–Birmingham, Alabama, tornado tracks. Normalized mean patterns of observed tree fall from each tornado’s peak-intensity period are subjectively compared with results from analytical vortex simulations of idealized tornado-induced tree fall to characterize mean properties of the near-surface flow as depicted by the model. A computationally efficient method of simulating tree fall is applied that uses a Gumbel distribution of critical tree-falling wind speeds on the basis of the enhanced Fujita scale. Results from these simulations suggest that both tornadoes had strong radial near-surface winds. A few distinct tree-fall patterns are identified at various locations along the Tuscaloosa–Birmingham tornado track. Concentrated bands of intense tree fall, collocated with and aligned parallel to the axis of underlying valley channels, extend well beyond the primary damage path. These damage patterns are hypothesized to be the result of flow acceleration caused by channeling within valleys. Another distinct pattern of tree fall, likely not linked to the underlying topography, may have been associated with a rear-flank downdraft (RFD) internal surge during the tornado’s intensification stage. Here, the wind field was strong enough to produce tornado-strength damage well beyond the visible funnel cloud. This made it difficult to distinguish between tornado- and RFD-related damage and thus illustrates an ambiguity in ascertaining tornado-damage-path width in some locations.

Supplemental information related to this paper is available at the Journals Online website: http://dx.doi.org/10.1175/JAMC-D-12-0206.s1.

Corresponding author address: Christopher D. Karstens, 3015 Agronomy, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011. E-mail: karstens.chris@gmail.com

Supplementary Materials

    • Supplemental Materials (ZIP 66.2 MB)
Save