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Matthew J. Onderlinde and Henry E. Fuelberg

Abstract

The authors develop a statistical guidance product, the tropical cyclone tornado parameter (TCTP), for forecasting the probability of one or more tornadoes during a 6-h period that are associated with landfalling tropical cyclones affecting the coastal Gulf of Mexico and the southern Atlantic coast. TCTP is designed to aid forecasters in a time-limited environment. TCTP provides a “quick look” at regions where forecasters can then conduct detailed analyses. The pool of potential predictors included tornado reports and tropical cyclone data between 2000 and 2008, as well as storm environmental parameters. The original pool of 28 potential predictors is reduced to six using stepwise regression and logistic regression. These six predictors are 0–3-km wind shear, 0–3-km storm relative helicity, azimuth angle of the tornado report from the tropical cyclone, distance from the cyclone’s center, time of day, and 950–1000-hPa convective available potential energy. Mean Brier scores and Brier skill scores are computed for the entire TCTP-dependent dataset and for corresponding forecasts produced by the Storm Prediction Center (SPC). TCTP then is applied to four individual cyclone cases to qualitatively and quantitatively assess the parameter and compare its performance with SPC forecasts. Results show that TCTP has skill at identifying regions of tornado potential. However, tornadoes in some tropical systems are overpredicted, but underpredicted in others. TCTP 6-h forecast periods provide slightly poorer statistical performance than the 1-day tornado probability forecasts from SPC, probably because the SPC product includes forecaster guidance and because their forecasts are valid for longer periods (24 h).

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Gary M. Lackmann, Brian Ancell, Matthew Bunkers, Ben Kirtman, Karen Kosiba, Amy McGovern, Lynn McMurdie, Zhaoxia Pu, Elizabeth Ritchie, and Henry P. Huntington
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