The Deadliest Tornado (EF4) in the Past 40 Years in China

Zhiyong Meng Laboratory for Climate and Ocean–Atmosphere Studies, Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, School of Physics, Peking University, Beijing, China

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Lanqiang Bai Laboratory for Climate and Ocean–Atmosphere Studies, Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, School of Physics, Peking University, Beijing, China

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Murong Zhang Laboratory for Climate and Ocean–Atmosphere Studies, Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, School of Physics, Peking University, Beijing, China

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Zhifang Wu Guangdong Meteorological Bureau, Guangdong, China

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Zhaohui Li Foshan Tornado Research Center, Guangdong, China
Weathernews America Inc., Norman, Oklahoma

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Meijuan Pu Jiangsu Meteorological Bureau, Nanjing, China

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Yongguang Zheng National Meteorological Center, Beijing, China

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Xiaohua Wang Jiangsu Meteorological Bureau, Nanjing, China

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Dan Yao State Key Laboratory of Severe Weather, Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences, Beijing, China

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Ming Xue Key Laboratory of Mesoscale Severe Weather, Ministry of Education of China, Nanjing University, Nanjing, China
School of Atmospheric Sciences, Nanjing University, Nanjing, China
Center for Analysis and Prediction of Storms, Oklahoma University, Norman, Oklahoma
School of Meteorology, Oklahoma University, Norman, Oklahoma

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Kun Zhao Key Laboratory of Mesoscale Severe Weather, Ministry of Education of China, Nanjing University, Nanjing, China
School of Atmospheric Sciences, Nanjing University, Nanjing, China

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Zhaoming Li Foshan Tornado Research Center, Guangdong, China

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Siqi Peng Guangdong Meteorological Bureau, Guangdong, China

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Liye Li Foshan Tornado Research Center, Guangdong, China

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Abstract

An EF4 supercellular tornado hit Funing County, Yancheng, Jiangsu Province, China, from about 1410 to 1500 local standard time 23 June 2016, causing 98 fatalities and 846 injuries. It was the deadliest tornado in the past 40 years in China. This paper documents the storm environment, evolution of the radar signatures, real-time operational tornado warning services, and the damage distribution during this event. The tornado was spawned from a supercell that developed ahead of an upper-level trough extending southwestward from a low pressure vortex in northeast China and dissipated following the occlusion of the tornado vortex. The radar-based rotational velocity of the mesocyclone peaked at 42.2 m s−1. The strength of the tornado vortex signature (gate-to-gate azimuthal radial velocity difference) peaked at 84.5 m s−1. Surface observations at 1-min intervals from a mesoscale network of in situ surface weather stations revealed the surface wind pattern associated with the mesocyclone, such as convergent and rotational flows. The tornado formed after the peak updraft strength of the supercell, producing a damage swath that was 34.5 km long and with a maximum width of 4.1 km. The review of the tornado warning process for this event reveals that there is much work to be done to develop operational tornado forecast and warning services for China.

© 2018 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: Dr. Zhiyong Meng, zymeng@pku.edu.cn

Abstract

An EF4 supercellular tornado hit Funing County, Yancheng, Jiangsu Province, China, from about 1410 to 1500 local standard time 23 June 2016, causing 98 fatalities and 846 injuries. It was the deadliest tornado in the past 40 years in China. This paper documents the storm environment, evolution of the radar signatures, real-time operational tornado warning services, and the damage distribution during this event. The tornado was spawned from a supercell that developed ahead of an upper-level trough extending southwestward from a low pressure vortex in northeast China and dissipated following the occlusion of the tornado vortex. The radar-based rotational velocity of the mesocyclone peaked at 42.2 m s−1. The strength of the tornado vortex signature (gate-to-gate azimuthal radial velocity difference) peaked at 84.5 m s−1. Surface observations at 1-min intervals from a mesoscale network of in situ surface weather stations revealed the surface wind pattern associated with the mesocyclone, such as convergent and rotational flows. The tornado formed after the peak updraft strength of the supercell, producing a damage swath that was 34.5 km long and with a maximum width of 4.1 km. The review of the tornado warning process for this event reveals that there is much work to be done to develop operational tornado forecast and warning services for China.

© 2018 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: Dr. Zhiyong Meng, zymeng@pku.edu.cn
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