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Matthew T. Vaughan, Brian H. Tang, and Lance F. Bosart

Abstract

This study identifies high-impact severe weather events with poor predictive skill over the northeast United States using Storm Prediction Center (SPC) convective outlooks. The objectives are to build a climatology of high-impact, low predictive skill events between 1980 and 2013 and investigate the differences in the synoptic-scale environment and severe weather parameters between severe weather events with low predictive skill and high predictive skill. Event-centered composite analyses, performed using the National Centers for Environmental Prediction Climate Forecast System Reanalysis and the North American Regional Reanalysis, suggest low predictive skill events occur significantly more often in low-shear environments. Additionally, a plurality of low probability of detection (POD), high-impact events occurred in low-shear, high-CAPE environments. Statistical analysis of low-shear, high-CAPE environments suggests high downdraft CAPE (DCAPE) and relatively dry lower levels of the atmosphere are associated with widespread severe weather events. DCAPE and dry boundary layer air may contribute to severe wind gusts through strong negative buoyancy and enhanced evaporative cooling of descending saturated parcels.

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