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Open AccessArticle

A Challenging Tornado Forecast in Slovakia

1
Department of Meteorology and Climatology, Faculty of Mathematics, Physics and Informatics, Comenius University, 84248 Bratislava, Slovakia
2
Department of Weather Forecasting and Warnings, Slovak Hydrometeorological Institute, 83315 Bratislava, Slovakia
3
European Severe Storms Laboratory, 2700 Wiener Neustadt, Austria
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Atmosphere 2020, 11(8), 821; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11080821
Received: 24 June 2020 / Revised: 30 July 2020 / Accepted: 31 July 2020 / Published: 4 August 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tornadoes in Europe: Climatology, Forecasting, and Impact)
An F1 tornado hit the village of Lekárovce in eastern Slovakia on the afternoon of 3 October 2018. The tornado, which occurred outside the main convective season in Slovakia, was not anticipated by the meteorologists of the Slovak Hydrometeorological Institute. The models available to the forecasters simulated an environment of marginal convective available potential energy (CAPE) and weakening vertical wind shear. This paper addresses forecasting challenges associated with events related to a tornado threat. To investigate conditions before tornado formation, observational datasets, including sounding, and vertical-azimuth display (VAD) data from a radar station and surface stations were used. Hodographs based on observational data and a higher-resolution run of the limited-area model showed stronger lower tropospheric shear than was formerly anticipated over the area of interest. The higher-resolution model was able to better represent the modification of the lower tropospheric flow by a mountain chain, which was crucial to maintaining the strong lower tropospheric shear in the early afternoon hours before the tornado’s occurrence. We discuss the importance of using both observational datasets and higher-resolution modeling in the simulation of lower tropospheric wind profiles, which affect the lower tropospheric storm relative helicity as one of the key ingredients in mesocyclonic tornadogenesis. View Full-Text
Keywords: tornado forecasting; supercell; vertical wind shear; storm relative helicity; streamwise vorticity; high-resolution NWP modeling tornado forecasting; supercell; vertical wind shear; storm relative helicity; streamwise vorticity; high-resolution NWP modeling
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Šinger, M.; Púčik, T. A Challenging Tornado Forecast in Slovakia. Atmosphere 2020, 11, 821.

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