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David S. Nolan, Brian D. McNoldy, and Jimmy Yunge

Abstract

Although global and regional dynamical models are used to predict the tracks and intensities of hurricanes over the ocean, these models are not currently used to predict the wind field and other impacts over land. This two-part study performs detailed evaluations of the near-surface, overland wind fields produced in simulations of Hurricane Wilma (2005) as it traveled across South Florida. This first part describes the production of two high-resolution simulations using the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model, using different boundary layer parameterizations available in WRF: the Mellor–Yamada–Janjić (MYJ) scheme and the Yonsei University (YSU) scheme. Initial conditions from the Global Forecasting System are manipulated with a vortex-bogusing technique to modify the initial intensity, size, and location of the cyclone. It is found possible through trial and error to successfully produce simulations using both the YSU and MYJ schemes that closely reproduce the track, intensity, and size of Wilma at landfall. For both schemes the storm size and structure also show good agreement with the wind fields diagnosed by H*WIND and the Tropical Cyclone Surface Wind Analysis. Both over water and over land, the YSU scheme has stronger winds over larger areas than does the MYJ, but the surface winds are more reduced in areas of greater surface roughness, particularly in urban areas. Both schemes produced very similar inflow angles over land and water. The overland wind fields are examined in more detail in the second part of this study.

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David S. Nolan, Brian D. McNoldy, Jimmy Yunge, Forrest J. Masters, and Ian M. Giammanco

Abstract

This is the second of a two-part study that explores the capabilities of a mesoscale atmospheric model to reproduce the near-surface wind fields in hurricanes over land. The Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model is used with two planetary boundary layer parameterizations: the Yonsei University (YSU) and the Mellor–Yamada–Janjić (MYJ) schemes. The first part presented the modeling framework and initial conditions used to produce simulations of Hurricane Wilma (2005) that closely reproduced the track, intensity, and size of its wind field as it passed over South Florida. This part explores how well these simulations can reproduce the winds at fixed points over land by making comparisons with observations from airports and research weather stations. The results show that peak wind speeds are remarkably well reproduced at several locations. Wind directions are evaluated in terms of the inflow angle relative to the storm center, and the simulated inflow angles are generally smaller than observed. Localized peak wind events are associated with vertical vorticity maxima in the boundary layer with horizontal scales of 5–10 km. The boundary layer winds are compared with wind profiles obtained by velocity–azimuth display (VAD) analyses from National Weather Service Doppler radars at Miami and Key West, Florida; results from these comparisons are mixed. Nonetheless the comparisons with surface observations suggest that when short-term hurricane forecasts can sufficiently predict storm track, intensity, and size, they will also be able to provide useful information on extreme winds at locations of interest.

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