NOAA’s Severe Storm Laboratory Stages Equipment Near Hurricane Harvey
NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory Researcher Sean Waugh collected weather data in the path of Hurricane Harvey Friday to record how the landfalling hurricane changed as it developed. The first major hurricane to make landfall in the Gulf Coast in 12 years provides an opportunity to study development of tornadoes in tropical cyclones to improve future forecasts.
“While tornadoes are relatively rare in environments associated with landfalling hurricanes, if they occur they can have large impacts,” Waugh said.
Waugh used a truck with roof mounted instruments called a mobile mesonet to record observations of Hurricane Harvey for an extended period of time. The instruments and weather balloons record rain, wind and temperature. Waugh is working with scientists from The University of Oklahoma College of Atmospheric and Geographic Sciences. The team has been utilizing the university’s Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies SMART radar truck.
[NSSL Researcher Sean Waugh with the mobile mesonet]
Researchers will now look back at the data to see how the hurricane’s structure changed during landfall as well as temperature changes and wind on the surface. Scientists also used a new instrument developed at NSSL that measures rain size and distribution to help with flood forecasts. Information gathered will be shared with National Weather Service forecasters.
NOAA NSSL and partners are studying the development of tornadoes in the Southeast U.S. in order to improve their prediction through VORTEX-Southeast.
For WeatherNation: Meteorologist Mace Michaels