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Yan Zhang, James A. Smith, Alexandros A. Ntelekos, Mary Lynn Baeck, Witold F. Krajewski, and Fred Moshary

Abstract

Heavy precipitation in the northeastern United States is examined through observational and numerical modeling analyses for a weather system that produced extreme rainfall rates and urban flash flooding over the New York–New Jersey region on 4–5 October 2006. Hydrometeorological analyses combine observations from Weather Surveillance Radar-1988 Doppler (WSR-88D) weather radars, the National Lightning Detection Network, surface observing stations in the northeastern United States, a vertically pointing lidar system, and a Joss–Waldvogel disdrometer with simulations from the Weather Research and Forecasting Model (WRF). Rainfall analyses from the Hydro-Next Generation Weather Radar (NEXRAD) system, based on observations from WSR-88D radars in State College, Pennsylvania, and Fort Dix, New Jersey, and WRF model simulations show that heavy rainfall was organized into long-lived lines of convective precipitation, with associated regions of stratiform precipitation, that develop along a frontal zone.

Structure and evolution of convective storm elements that produced extreme rainfall rates over the New York–New Jersey urban corridor were influenced by the complex terrain of the central Appalachians, the diurnal cycle of convection, and the history of convective evolution in the frontal zone. Extreme rainfall rates and flash flooding were produced by a “leading line–trailing stratiform” system that was rapidly dissipating as it passed over the New York–New Jersey region. Radar, disdrometer, and lidar observations are used in combination with model analyses to examine the dynamical and cloud microphysical processes that control the spatial and temporal structure of heavy rainfall. The study illustrates key elements of the spatial and temporal distribution of rainfall that can be used to characterize flash flood hazards in the urban corridor of the northeastern United States.

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N. Hosannah, J. González, R. Rodriguez-Solis, H. Parsiani, F. Moshary, L. Aponte, R. Armstrong, E. Harmsen, P. Ramamurthy, M. Angeles, L. León, N. Ramírez, D. Niyogi, and B. Bornstein

Abstract

Modulated by global-, continental-, regional-, and local-scale processes, convective precipitation in coastal tropical regions is paramount in maintaining the ecological balance and socioeconomic health within them. The western coast of the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico is ideal for observing local convective dynamics as interactions between complex processes involving orography, surface heating, land cover, and sea-breeze–trade wind convergence influence different rainfall climatologies across the island. A multiseason observational effort entitled the Convection, Aerosol, and Synoptic-Effects in the Tropics (CAST) experiment was undertaken using Puerto Rico as a test case, to improve the understanding of island-scale processes and their effects on precipitation. Puerto Rico has a wide network of observational instruments, including ground weather stations, soil moisture sensors, a Next Generation Weather Radar (NEXRAD), twice-daily radiosonde launches, and Aerosol Robotic Network (AERONET) sunphotometers. To achieve the goals of CAST, researchers from multiple institutions supplemented existing observational networks with additional radiosonde launches, three high-resolution radars, continuous ceilometer monitoring, and air sampling in western Puerto Rico to monitor convective precipitation events. Observations during three CAST measurement phases (22 June–10 July 2015, 6–22 February 2016, and 24 April–7 May 2016) captured the most extreme drought in recent history (summer 2015), in addition to anomalously wet early rainfall and dry-season (2016) phases. This short article presents an overview of CAST along with selected campaign data.

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