Thursday, May 13, 2010

Mmmmmmmm Donuts

A big hello to all 19 of our followers and anyone else who may be reading this! So, it's been a long three days since my last post and an awful lot has happened, I'll try to catch everyone up.

I'll start with the most exciting news for our TTUKa teams. We managed to scan a developing tornado just southwest of Clinton, OK last night around sunset. The image above shows the reflectivity image of the tornado as observed by TTUKa-1, it is the "donut" in the lower-left portion of the image. We were at a range of about 18 km to the tornado, which is quite a ways farther than we'd like to be, but it's exciting that we were still able to capture structure this detailed at long range. Also, and from our perspective this is as exciting as the tornado, we captured several RHI (range-height indicator) scans (which look at the vertical structure of the storm rather than the horizontal) across the rear-flank downdraft boundary of the Clinton supercell prior to tornadogenesis. These scans revealed horizontal circulations in the strong convergence at the interface of the downdraft and storm inflow. A series of these circulations propagated vertically within the upraft and the level of detail captured has us all very excited! (Hopefully I can get a screen capture or two of these up in a future posting, I don't think I have done them justice with my description)

Our Tuesday deployment was pretty hectic as storm motion didn't cooperate with our forecast (it hasn't yet this year, so we're getting better at adapting) and we didn't get on the storm until nearly sunset. Still, we were able to capture the first-ever coordinated Ka-band dual-Doppler dataset with our sister radar TTUKa-2! Now, next time we collect dual-Doppler data with the TTUKa's, we'd like to be scanning a non-elevated supercell, preferably tornadic (in open country), and at an elevation angle less than 5 degrees. But still, it's a start.

As Rich has described below, Monday was a tough and sobering day for most of the V2 participants and our thoughts remain with the families effected by the tornadoes in Oklahoma. Driving through the tornado damage north of Seminole was a poignant reminder of why we do what we do. Hopefully we will do it well enough to make a difference in a few lives effected by tornadoes in the future.

Operationally, Monday was as difficult as it gets. Low visibility due to both terrain and low clouds coupled with very fast storm motion and backbuilding storms all combined to make for very challenging and dangerous deployment conditions. The whole V2 armada performed admirably under the conditions and we were fortunate to collect some good data on the Norman/Tecumpseh/Seminole tornado. The radars got a couple of deployments in, but terrain and precipitation-filled RFDs prevented any scans of the tornado from being obtained.

It's looking like operations are unlikely today in a region roughly bounded by Siberia, the central Indian Ocean, Patagonia, and the Aleutian Islands, but we'll probably be back to work tomorrow. I'll let you know how it goes!

p.s. Way to busy to bird the last few days, but I have managed to run the project total up to 39 species, including a Dick Cissel while scouting locations near Stillwater, OK.

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed seeing the "donut" in the posted image and look forward to future images. I'm learning a lot from your blogs, but have a long way to go and pictures help.