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Advances in Meteorology
Volume 2017, Article ID 6932798, 19 pages
Research Article

Composites of Heavy Rain Producing Elevated Thunderstorms in the Central United States

1Department of Soil, Environmental and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Missouri, 302 ABNR, Columbia, MO 65211, USA
2NWS Operations Proving Ground, CIMSS/SSEC, University of Wisconsin–Madison, NOAA/NWS Training Center, 7220 N.W.101st Terr, Kansas City, MO 64153, USA
3Department of Earth & Atmospheric Sciences, Saint Louis University, O’Neil Hall, Room 205A, 3642 Lindell Blvd, Saint Louis, MO 63108, USA
4The College at Brockport, State University of New York, 350 New Campus Drive, Brockport, NY 14420-2936, USA

Correspondence should be addressed to Patrick S. Market; ude.iruossim@ptekram

Received 23 December 2016; Revised 9 March 2017; Accepted 19 March 2017; Published 20 June 2017

Academic Editor: Zheng Duan

Copyright © 2017 Laurel P. McCoy 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.


Composite analyses of the atmosphere over the central United States during elevated thunderstorms producing heavy rainfall are presented. Composites were created for five National Weather Service County Warning Areas (CWAs) in the region. Events studied occurred during the warm season (April–September) during 1979–2012. These CWAs encompass the region determined previously to experience the greatest frequency of elevated thunderstorms in the United States. Composited events produced rainfall of >50 mm 24 hr−1 within the selected CWA. Composites were generated for the 0–3 hr period prior to the heaviest rainfall, 6–9 hours prior to it, and 12–15 hours prior to it. This paper focuses on the Pleasant Hill, Missouri (EAX) composites, as all CWA results were similar; also these analyses focus on the period 0–3 hours prior to event occurrence. These findings corroborate the findings of previous authors. What is offered here that is unique is (1) a measure of the interquartile range within the composite mean fields, allowing for discrimination between variable fields that provided a strong reliable signal, from those that may appear strong but possess large variability, and (2) composite soundings of two subclasses of elevated thunderstorms. Also, a null case (one that fits the composite but failed to produce significant rainfall) is also examined for comparison.