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SU Environmental Science Thunderstorms and Tornadoes Discussion

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Date: Class: Name: Exercise 18.1 – Characteristics of Thunderstorms Identify the type of thunderstorm described in each statement. OT ordinary thunderstorm MCS mesoscale convective systems FSL frontal squall lines SP supercell ALL true for all four thunderstorm types 1. Always rotate 2. Occur in clusters 3. Contain thunder and lightning 4. Rarely produce severe conditions 5. Form far from frontal boundaries 6. Form in regions with weak or no wind shear 7. Appear as a hook shaped echo on radar reflectivity 8. Commonly form along the “tail of the comma cloud” 9. Appear as a long continuous line on radar reflectivity 10. Account for most large, damaging tornadoes and large hail 11. Responsible for much of the summer rainfall in the Central Plains 12. The anvil can grow to cover an area the size of an entire U.S state 13. Have an anvil and may have mammatus on the underside of the anvil 14. Can produce hail and tornadoes but are most often associated with strong straight line winds 15. A low-level jet helps transport warm moist air into the storm and provides low- level wind shear that contributes to storm rotation Severe & Hazardous Weather 64 Active Learning Exercises – Belf ructure y placing the con oting top king line Name: Class: Date: Exercise 19.1 -Tornado: Myth or Fact? indicate whether each of the following statements about tornadoes is fact or myth. e 1. Tornadoes can be invisible. MYTH FACT 2. Tornadoes have occurred in all 50 states. 3. Tornadoes are attracted to mobile home communities. MYTH FACT MYTH FACT anvil 4. Tornadoes always rotate counter-clockwise in the Northern Hemisphere. MYTH FACT downdraft 5. If a tornado watch has been issued, then this means a tornado MYTH has been sighted FACT 6. Tornadoes cannot hit downtown areas because the buildings deflect the airflow. MYTH FACT 7. If there is a tornado watch, you should open all the windows in your house or apartment. MYTH FACT 8. A tornado can contain within its circulation two or more smaller vortices called suction vortices. MYTH FACT 9. An interior room of a building with no windows is one of the safer places to be during a tornado. MYTH FACT 10. When the tornado siren goes off should grab your camera and go outside to record the event. MYTH FACT MYTH FACT 11. If you are driving in a car on the highway and see a tornado behind you, one of the worst options is to find the nearest overpass and hide under it. MYTH 12. When the tornado siren goes off, go to the innermost room in the lowest level of your house or building. FACT MYTH FACT 13. If your area is under a tornado watch the safest course of action is to grab your camera phone, jump in the car and chase it. MYTH FACT 14. If you have no basement, during a tornado seek shelter in a ground floor level bathroom, get in the bathtub and cover yourself with a blanket to protect from flying debris. Severe & Hazardous Weather 69 Active Learning Exercises – Ed 5 Chapter 19 Tornadoes 397 e center of a large tornado comes down middle of your street, which is oriented southwest to northeast. On your side of the and outdoor storage sheds are flattened, but street, some roof structures are removed your brick house has lost no walls and your car is still right-side-up in your driveway. On the opposite side of the street, houses have lost most walls, except for small (b) Determine the average numbers of tornadoes per year in each of the six Enhanced Fujita categories. (c) Estimate the area covered by the average year’s tornadoes by using the path-length information in this chap- ter, together with assumed “average” widths of 100 m for EFO and EF1 tornadoes, 200 m for EF2 and EF3 tornadoes, and 400 m for EF4 and EF5 tornadoes. (d) Divide Oklahoma’s total area (Problem interior rooms. (a) Is your house on the northwest or the southeast side of the street? (b) Estimate the wind speeds experienced on each side of the street. (c) What is your best estimate of the tornado’s forward speed as it moved down your street? Explain your answer. (d) What EF-scale rating would you give to this tornado? Why? 4. Consider a random location in Oklahoma, and estimate the average time (in years) between tornado occurrences at that precise location by the following procedure. (Use Problem 1 in this section and figures from this chapter to help with your calculation.) (a) Determine the average number of tornadoes per year in Oklahoma. 1) by your answer to (c) to determine how many years would be required for the cumulative tornado path area to become equal to the state’s area. This calculation provides you with an estimate of the expected number of years between tornadoes at a particular point, assuming that tornado occur- rences are distributed evenly across the state. (In reality, the latter assumption is not strictly correct; that is, tornadoes are less common in the panhandle of Oklahoma than in the south-central part of the state. Moreover, some locations will be in the path of more than 1 tor- nado before other locations experience a single tornado.) Chapter 18 Thunderstorms 363 e and acent ceze. may ad to e the TEST YOUR UNDERSTANDING 1. Summarize the average annual impact of nav- the flu- ind tex li- al- ag of e 2 thunderstorms on the United States in terms of fatalities and economic losses. List the 4 necessary elements for severe thunderstorm formation. What types of weather maps or images would you examine to see if each element were present? 3. What are the 3 ways in which severe thunderstorms typically organize? 4. Draw a vertical cross section of an ordinary thunderstorm in all 3 stages. Label all the important features. Briefly describe each stage of its life cycle. 5. What 2 mechanisms lead to the formation of downdrafts in thunderstorms? 6. What time of year are MCSs most common? 7. Describe how a bow echo develops within an MCS
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