A tornado daily impacts simulator for the central and southern United States
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A tornado daily impacts simulator for the central and southern United States
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  • Source:
    Meteorological Applications 27(1), e1882, 2020.
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  • Description:
    In an average year (1979–2016), the United States experiences nearly 1,100 tornadoes, which cause a total of 68 fatalities. Annual fatality rates have decreased since the peak in the 1920s, but there is a concern that they could start to rise again with increases in vulnerable populations and the impacts of climate change. It is possible to assess the risk of tornado fatalities using the historical record. However, the rarity of tornadoes and the short period of record may not capture the true risk. One way around this problem is to simulate thousands of years’ worth of tornadoes to obtain a broader picture of risk. Previous tornado risk models have distributed tornadoes randomly or used climatology to generate realistic tornado patterns on an annual (or longer) time scale. From an operational standpoint, it would be useful to have a model that distributes tornadoes on a daily time step to enable the forecasting of potential tornado impacts on a given day. The present study introduces one such model that distributes tornadoes using information about the favourability of the atmospheric environment for tornado development: The Tornado Daily Impacts Simulator (TorDIS). The paper demonstrates model utility through 1,000 year simulations over several metropolitan areas and with a comparison between modelled and observed impacts for several high‐impact tornado days. Forecasting potential tornado impacts on a daily time step could allow emergency managers to plan ahead for high‐risk days to prioritize their resources and save lives.
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