Friday, May 14, 2010

One for three

Updates on the past three significant deployments:

Monday May 10th: Outbreak

The outbreak on Monday in Oklahoma resulted in a lot of damage and a few fatalities. As I mentioned in my previous post, no DOW data was collected on any of those storms nor did any of the CSWR crew have a visual. The most poignant thing we encountered was the damage path of the storm; a humbling experience for everyone.

Paul Markowski, this week's mission scientist, explains the plan for Monday's deployment. The multiple circles show different mobile radars' coverage areas. The coverage areas where two radars overlap are dual-Doppler "lobes."

Wednesday May 12th: Dual-Doppler Tornadogenesis

The first (almost) fully-successful tornado deployment of V2 2010. We got dual-Doppler (dual-polarization) tornadogenesis on a short-lived tornado near Clinton, OK. As far as I know no one on V2 had visual on the actual tornado, but a nearby chaser did. Our probes almost got "cored" (slammed by hail) and were sent quite a distance from the storm which prevented any pod deployments as well. The dual-Doppler tornadogenesis, however, is quite a dataset to celebrate! VORTEX stands for Verification of the Origins of Rotation in Tornadoes EXperiment, so data on the tornado as it is still developing is valuable for the purposes of the field project. Dual-Doppler lobes are also an important aim of the 10 mobile radars, because from these overlapping areas we can interpolate the three dimensional wind field. A single radar on its own only "sees" the two dimensional wind field, from which we can only estimate certain features. This is also the first time this has been done with dual-polarization data (see earlier post for an explanation).

Before the storm became tornadic and after the probe teams high-tailed it from the hail core.

Friday May 14th: Hail and another missed opportunity

Today we moved west in Texas only to have a tornado happen during lunch. We knew this would be an early show, but despite our efforts we were still out of position by about 20 miles (again). Most teams had visual on today's TWO tornadoes, but the CSWR crew was neither in position for data collection nor for a visual. Early word on the street is that some other teams did get good data, so that is good news for the project. Otherwise we saw some good lightning and took some nice hail that was then taken from the side of the road and put into our cooler in lieu of ice.

Hail from the core of the storm that was tornadic. The hail we took a few minutes later was a bit smaller.

So far the CSWR crew is 1 for 3 for successful tornado deployments and 0 for 3 for visual on the tornadoes. The next two days look to be operations days as well. On the bright side, we did get to stay in a Hilton hotel last night.

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