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Advances in Meteorology
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 281695, 18 pages
Research Article

Analysis and Forecast of a Tornadic Thunderstorm Using Multiple Doppler Radar Data, 3DVAR, and ARPS Model

1Center for Analysis and Prediction of Storms, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK 73072, USA
2School of Meteorology, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK 73072, USA
3NOAA/National Severe Storms Laboratory, Norman, OK 73072, USA

Received 30 May 2013; Accepted 25 September 2013

Academic Editor: Kun Zhao

Copyright © 2013 Edward Natenberg et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


A three-dimensional variational (3DVAR) assimilation technique developed for a convective-scale NWP model—advanced regional prediction system (ARPS)—is used to analyze the 8 May 2003, Moore/Midwest City, Oklahoma tornadic supercell thunderstorm. Previous studies on this case used only one or two radars that are very close to this storm. However, three other radars observed the upper-level part of the storm. Because these three radars are located far away from the targeted storm, they were overlooked by previous studies. High-frequency intermittent 3DVAR analyses are performed using the data from five radars that together provide a more complete picture of this storm. The analyses capture a well-defined mesocyclone in the midlevels and the wind circulation associated with a hook-shaped echo. The analyses produced through this technique are used as initial conditions for a 40-minute storm-scale forecast. The impact of multiple radars on a short-term NWP forecast is most evident when compared to forecasts using data from only one and two radars. The use of all radars provides the best forecast in which a strong low-level mesocyclone develops and tracks in close proximity to the actual tornado damage path.