A Dual-Polarization-Radar-Based Assessment of the 8 May 2003 Oklahoma City Area Tornadic Supercell

Romine, Glen S.; Burgess, Donald W.; Wilhelmson, Robert B.
August 2008
Monthly Weather Review;Aug2008, Vol. 136 Issue 8, p2849
Academic Journal
On 8 May 2003, a tornadic supercell tracked through portions of the Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, metropolitan area and produced violent damage along portions of its path. This storm passed through the dense in situ radar network in central Oklahoma and provided close-range operational, prototype polarimetric and terminal Doppler weather radar observations of the storm as it made the transition into the tornadic phase. The time-evolving polarimetric features were scrutinized with regard to storm morphology, particularly as related to the development of a rear-flank downdraft pulse within the storm immediately preceding the long-track tornado event. Two new polarimetric terms are introduced, the Zdr shield and Kdp foot, along with a discussion of the orientation of the Zdr and Kdp columns relative to midlevel rotation signatures. Storm downdraft and gust front characteristics are discussed relative to polarimetric fields and background environment characteristics. Highlighted for this event are a “warm” forward-flank downdraft and a particularly cold rear-flank downdraft. Emphasis is also placed on demonstrating key polarimetric field characteristics relative to traditional features at low and midlevels defined in familiar conceptual models of severe storms.


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