Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Multiple consecutive days of tornado activity spawn worst events

Date:
April 30, 2014
Source:
Purdue University
Summary:
Significant tornado outbreaks and especially strong tornadoes are more likely occur within periods of activity lasting three or more days, according to a tornado expert. An examination of 30 years of US weather records found that an outbreak of 20 or more reported tornadoes had a 74 percent probability of occurring during a period of tornado activity lasting three or more days. During those same periods, a tornado rated three or higher on the Enhanced Fujita scale had a 60 percent probability of hitting.

A violent tornado touched down in Arkansas on April 27, 2014, killing as many as 15 people. The top image, acquired on April 28 by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite, shows what appears to be a tornado track north of Little Rock, Arkansas.
Credit: NASA image by Jeff Schmaltz, LANCE/EOSDIS Rapid Response. (Aaron Perry pointed out the track).

Significant tornado outbreaks and especially strong tornadoes are more likely occur within periods of activity lasting three or more days, according to a Purdue University tornado expert.

Jeff Trapp, a professor of earth, atmospheric and planetary sciences, examined 30 years of U.S. weather records and found that an outbreak of 20 or more reported tornadoes had a 74 percent probability of occurring during a period of tornado activity lasting three or more days. During those same periods, a tornado rated 3 or higher on the Enhanced Fujita scale had a 60 percent probability of hitting.

The Enhanced Fujita scale rates tornadoes from EF0 to EF5 with damage rated as "light," including broken branches and windblown signs, to "incredible," including leveling of strong-frame houses.

"Two extreme tornado events last year led to 32 deaths, injured more than 377 and cost $2 billion in damage and inspired this study," Trapp said. "Unfortunately, the devastating tornadoes these past few days, tragically, seem to be bearing out the results."

Tornadoes swept through Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Iowa and Mississippi on Sunday (April 27); Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee on Monday (April 28); and North Carolina on Tuesday (April 29). The National Weather Service received 100 preliminary tornado reports for April 27 and 28, and multiple deaths have been attributed to the violent storm system.

Trapp also found the multiple-day periods were more likely to occur during the warm months of April through July.

"The encouraging news is that the larger, more slowly evolving and moving systems that appear to contribute to multiple-day tornado periods may be more predictable," he said. "The weather system responsible for the tornadoes this week falls in this category and was revealed in the forecast models at least five days in advance with good fidelity."

Trapp examined tornado activity entered into the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's historical record of tornadoes in the United States from 1983-2012, which included 3,129 tornado days and 1,406 unique periods of tornado activity. Multiple-day periods made up 24 percent of the unique periods of activity.

A paper detailing his study and the results was published in the April issue of the journal Monthly Weather Review and is available online.

The idea for the research began while Trapp was participating as a lead investigator in the National Science Foundation's Mesoscale Predictability Experiment (MPEX), a national field project to improve predictions of severe weather.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Purdue University. The original article was written by Elizabeth K. Gardner. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Robert J. Trapp. On the Significance of Multiple Consecutive Days of Tornado Activity. Monthly Weather Review, 2014; 142 (4): 1452 DOI: 10.1175/MWR-D-13-00347.1

Cite This Page:

Purdue University. "Multiple consecutive days of tornado activity spawn worst events." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 April 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140430143020.htm>.
Purdue University. (2014, April 30). Multiple consecutive days of tornado activity spawn worst events. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140430143020.htm
Purdue University. "Multiple consecutive days of tornado activity spawn worst events." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140430143020.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve

Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve

AP (July 31, 2014) Seacrest Wolf Preserve on the northern Florida panhandle allows more than 10,000 visitors each year to get up close and personal with Arctic and British Columbian Wolves. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Big Waves In Arctic Ocean Threaten Polar Ice

Big Waves In Arctic Ocean Threaten Polar Ice

Newsy (July 30, 2014) Big waves in parts of the Arctic Ocean are unprecedented, mainly because they used to be covered in ice. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

AP (July 30, 2014) Thousands of people are trekking to a Bavarian farmer's field to check out a mysterious set of crop circles. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Weather Kills 2K A Year, But Storms Aren't The Main Offender

Weather Kills 2K A Year, But Storms Aren't The Main Offender

Newsy (July 30, 2014) Health officials say 2,000 deaths occur each year in the U.S. due to weather, but it's excessive heat and cold that claim the most lives. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins