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Forecasting Peak Wind Gusts Using Meteorologically Stratified Gust Factors and MOS Guidance

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  • 1 Atmospheric Science Group, Department of Mathematical Sciences, University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Abstract

Gust prediction is an important element of weather forecasting services, yet reliable methods remain elusive. Peak wind gusts estimated by the meteorologically stratified gust factor (MSGF) model were evaluated at 15 locations across the United States during 2010–17. This model couples gust factors, site-specific climatological measures of “gustiness,” with wind speed and direction forecast guidance. The model was assessed using two forms of model output statistics (MOS) guidance at forecast projections ranging from 1 to 72 h. At 11 of 15 sites the MSGF model showed skill (improvement over climatology) in predicting peak gusts out to projections of 72 h. This has important implications for operational wind forecasting because the method can be utilized at any location for which the meteorologically stratified gust factors have been determined. During particularly windy conditions the MSGF model exhibited skill in predicting peak gusts at forecast projections ranging from 6 to 72 h at roughly half of the sites analyzed. Site characteristics and local wind climatologies were shown to exert impacts on gust factor model performance. The MSGF method represents a viable option for the operational prediction of peak wind gusts, although model performance will be sensitive to the quality of the necessary wind speed and direction forecasts.

Supplemental information related to this paper is available at the Journals Online website: https://doi.org/10.1175/WAF-D-20-0045.s1.

© 2020 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: Jonathan D. W. Kahl, kahl@uwm.edu

Abstract

Gust prediction is an important element of weather forecasting services, yet reliable methods remain elusive. Peak wind gusts estimated by the meteorologically stratified gust factor (MSGF) model were evaluated at 15 locations across the United States during 2010–17. This model couples gust factors, site-specific climatological measures of “gustiness,” with wind speed and direction forecast guidance. The model was assessed using two forms of model output statistics (MOS) guidance at forecast projections ranging from 1 to 72 h. At 11 of 15 sites the MSGF model showed skill (improvement over climatology) in predicting peak gusts out to projections of 72 h. This has important implications for operational wind forecasting because the method can be utilized at any location for which the meteorologically stratified gust factors have been determined. During particularly windy conditions the MSGF model exhibited skill in predicting peak gusts at forecast projections ranging from 6 to 72 h at roughly half of the sites analyzed. Site characteristics and local wind climatologies were shown to exert impacts on gust factor model performance. The MSGF method represents a viable option for the operational prediction of peak wind gusts, although model performance will be sensitive to the quality of the necessary wind speed and direction forecasts.

Supplemental information related to this paper is available at the Journals Online website: https://doi.org/10.1175/WAF-D-20-0045.s1.

© 2020 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: Jonathan D. W. Kahl, kahl@uwm.edu

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