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The Atlanta Tornado of 1975

E. F. GrenekerEngineering Experiment Station, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta 30332

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C. S. WilsonEngineering Experiment Station, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta 30332

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J. I. MetcalfEngineering Experiment Station, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta 30332

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Abstract

Joint observations by radar and high-frequency sferics detectors at Georgia Institute of Technology provided unique data on the Atlanta tornado of 24 March 1975. The classic hook echo was detected by radar at a range of about 26 km, 15 min before the tornado touched down. While the tornado was on the ground the sferics burst rate was very low, despite very high values recorded immediately before and after this interval. This observation, together with visual reports of a strong cloud-to-ground discharge at the time of tornado touchdown, suggests an interaction of the tornado with the electric field of the storm.

Abstract

Joint observations by radar and high-frequency sferics detectors at Georgia Institute of Technology provided unique data on the Atlanta tornado of 24 March 1975. The classic hook echo was detected by radar at a range of about 26 km, 15 min before the tornado touched down. While the tornado was on the ground the sferics burst rate was very low, despite very high values recorded immediately before and after this interval. This observation, together with visual reports of a strong cloud-to-ground discharge at the time of tornado touchdown, suggests an interaction of the tornado with the electric field of the storm.

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