VORTEX-SE
Motivation

The paucity of targeted and fine-scale observations of tornadic environments and storm scale processes of potential tornadic storms in the southeastern U.S. has hindered the understanding of regional influences on tornadogenesis. In order to work towards a better understanding of predicting tornadoes in the southeastern U.S., the year two field phase of the VORTEX-SE (VSE) project, which occurred from 8 March – 8 May 2017, deployed a suite of instrumentation chosen to satisfy five core physical scientific priorities relating to understanding and quantifying the 4-D flow in complex terrain, characterizing boundary layer heterogeneities, characterizing downdrafts and cold pools conducive to tornado formation, assessing baroclinicity aloft, and optimizing the information gained from historic data (http://www.nssl.noaa.gov/projects/vortexse/). Using core instrumentation, we are working to address the following key VSE objectives:

1. Examine in situ and remotely-sensed downdraft characteristics, such as hydrometeor properties and rapid intensification, and relate them to rapid changes in tornado evolution and the near-storm environment (Core Objective I.B.1.d).

2. Explore refinement and development new methods of dual- and multiple-Doppler wind synthesis techniques specific to areas of complex terrain and varied land use (Core Objective I.B.1.a).

Through an enhanced understanding of downdraft processes, and corresponding radar signatures, that influence tornadogenesis, operational weather forecasts and nowcasts of tornadogenesis in a variety of storm morphologies and regional environments can be improved. Furthermore, identifying how specialized and/or targeted observations can improve the detection or forecast of tornado occurrence can help guide future observing networks, modeling systems, and further field research in the southeastern U.S.