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Predicting Supercell Motion Using a New Hodograph Technique

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  • 1 NOAA/NWS Weather Forecast Office, Rapid City, South Dakota
  • | 2 NOAA/NWS Houston/Galveston Weather Forecast Office, Dickinson, Texas
  • | 3 NOAA/NWS Storm Prediction Center, Norman, Oklahoma
  • | 4 NCAR/Mesoscale and Microscale Meteorology Division, Boulder, Colorado
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Abstract

A physically based, shear-relative, and Galilean invariant method for predicting supercell motion using a hodograph is presented. It is founded on numerous observational and modeling studies since the 1940s, which suggest a consistent pattern to supercell motion exists. Two components are assumed to be largely responsible for supercell motion: (i) advection of the storm by a representative mean wind, and (ii) propagation away from the mean wind either toward the right or toward the left of the vertical wind shear—due to internal supercell dynamics. Using 290 supercell hodographs, this new method is shown to be statistically superior to existing methods in predicting supercell motion for both right- and left-moving storms. Other external factors such as interaction with atmospheric boundaries and orography can have a pronounced effect on supercell motion, but these are difficult to quantify prior to storm development using only a hodograph.

Corresponding author address: Matthew J. Bunkers, NOAA/NWS Weather Forecast Office, 300 East Signal Drive, Rapid City, SD 57701-3800.

* Email: Matthew.Bunkers@noaa.gov

Abstract

A physically based, shear-relative, and Galilean invariant method for predicting supercell motion using a hodograph is presented. It is founded on numerous observational and modeling studies since the 1940s, which suggest a consistent pattern to supercell motion exists. Two components are assumed to be largely responsible for supercell motion: (i) advection of the storm by a representative mean wind, and (ii) propagation away from the mean wind either toward the right or toward the left of the vertical wind shear—due to internal supercell dynamics. Using 290 supercell hodographs, this new method is shown to be statistically superior to existing methods in predicting supercell motion for both right- and left-moving storms. Other external factors such as interaction with atmospheric boundaries and orography can have a pronounced effect on supercell motion, but these are difficult to quantify prior to storm development using only a hodograph.

Corresponding author address: Matthew J. Bunkers, NOAA/NWS Weather Forecast Office, 300 East Signal Drive, Rapid City, SD 57701-3800.

* Email: Matthew.Bunkers@noaa.gov

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