New England Tornado Hazard
Regional Climatology & Risk
Mary D. Stampone
Department of Geography
New Hampshire State Climat...
National Tornado Statistics
Time-Series
Tornado
Statistics by US
State
http://www.spc.noaa.gov/wcm/#data
New England
state...
National Tornado Statistics
Record Tornado
New Hampshire
July 28, 2008
http://www.erh.noaa.gov/gyx/
Just before noon, a
to...
New England Tornadoes
New England
Tornado
Influences
Lewis (2007)
Public
misconceptions
about tornado
influences
strengthe...
New England Tornadoes
http://www.erh.noaa.gov/box/
Prior to the 2011 Joplin
tornado, the Worchester
MA tornado of 1953 was...
New England Tornadoes
http://www.erh.noaa.gov/box/
A supercell thunderstorm
produced three
tornadoes including an
EF3 torn...
National Tornado Statistics
http://www.spc.noaa.gov/wcm/#data
Area-Weighted
Time-Series
Tornado
Statistics by US
State
New...
National Tornado Statistics
Tornado
Data
(1951-2011)
http://www.spc.noaa.gov/wcm/#data
Tornado data for 1951 to 2010 obtai...
New England Tornado Climatology
New England
Tornado
Climatology
(1951-2010)
http://www.spc.noaa.gov/wcm/#data
A lack of co...
New England Tornado Climatology
New Hampshire
Tornado
Climatology
(1951-2010)
http://www.spc.noaa.gov/wcm/#data
An unusual...
CT MA ME NH RI VT
New England Tornado Climatology
New England Tornado
Climatology
(1981-2010)
http://www.spc.noaa.gov/wcm/...
New England Tornado Climatology
New England Tornado Climatology
(1981-2010)
http://www.spc.noaa.gov/wcm/#data
New England Tornado Climatology
New England
Tornado
Climatology
(1981-2010)
http://www.spc.noaa.gov/wcm/#data
Tornadoes oc...
New England Tornado Climatology
New England
Tornado
Climatology
(1981-2010)
http://www.spc.noaa.gov/wcm/#data
Tornadoes oc...
New England Tornado Climatology
New England
Tornado
Climatology
(1981-2010)
http://www.spc.noaa.gov/wcm/#data
Locations of...
New England Population Distribution
Distribution of
New England
Urban Centers
http://2010.census.gov/2010census/data/
Sout...
New England Population Distribution
Distribution of
New England
Urban Centers
http://www.spc.noaa.gov/wcm/#data
Parts of s...
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Tornado Impact
New England Tornado Hazard
To...
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Tornado Impact
Total hazard is a
function of...
New England Tornado Hazard
Total Tornado Hazard for
New England Counties
(High/Low Continuum)
Densely populated counties o...
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New England Tornado Hazard
Total Tornado Hazard for
New England Counties
(Product of Occurrence
and Impact)
htt...
Next Step:
Beyond knowing where tornadoes are most likely to occur and the areas
where the impact will be highest, it is i...
Resources:
 Storm Prediction Center (SPC) Storm
http://www.spc.noaa.gov/wcm/#data
 US Census Bureau (2010) http://2010.c...
Questions?
New Hampshire State Climate Office
The New Hampshire State Climate Office (NHSCO) resides within the Department...
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"New England Tornado Hazard: Climatology and Risk" by MD Stampone

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Mary D. Stampone
Department of Geography
New Hampshire State Climate Office
University of New Hampshire

Presentation to the Plymouth State University
Environmental Science & Policy Colloquium.

Reference:
Stampone M.D. (2012) New England Tornado Hazard: Climatology and Risk – Plymouth State University Environmental Science Colloquium, Plymouth, NH, September 19, 2012

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  • Average over time alone may be misleading given the vast differences in the area over which events are countedThe term tornado alley is used to describe the area of high tornado activity within the central plains Considering Tornado Alley, variations in calculations and variables considered can shift this zone between the Rockies and Apps. (Dixon)Location far away from this area are precieved “low risk” including New England where there is a sense that tornadoes “don’t happen here” (Lewis)
  • Knocked down thousands of trees, destroyed 200 buildings, injured two and killed one (only one in NH since 1950)
  • Reasons for the lack of tornadoes indlues topography (break up storms), urban areas, climate and coastal influence. (Lewis)
  • This tornado cut a 35 mi path through central MA during the afternoon of June 9, 1953 injuring 1228 and killing 90.This area now has a population density of ~530 people/mi2
  • THE TORNADO RAPIDLY INTENSIFIED AS IT MOVED INTO WESTSPRINGFIELD. THE TORNADO CAUSED EXTENSIVE DAMAGE TO INDUSTRIALBUILDINGS AND HOMES. THE TORNADO THEN CROSSED THE CONNECTICUT RIVER AT THE MEMORIALAVENUE BRIDGE AND INTO THE CITY OF SPRINGFIELD. HERE THE TORNADOPRODUCED EXTENSIVE DAMAGE TO THE SOUTH SIDE OF THE DOWNTOWN AREAWITH MANY HOMES DESTROYED. IN ADDITION COMMERCIAL BRICK BUILDINGSSUSTAINED MAJOR DAMAGE. IN MONSON WIDESPREAD DAMAGE OCCURRED TO COMMERCIALAND RESIDENTIAL BUILDINGS...WITH MANY HOMES COMPLETELY DESTROYED.THE ROOF OF MONSON HIGH SCHOOL WAS DESTROYED. FORESTED PARTS OFTOWN EXPERIENCED NEARLY COMPLETE DEFORESTATION. SOUTHBRIDGE AIRPORT.HERE NUMEROUS AIRCRAFT WERE LIFTED OFF THE GROUND AND INTO THEWOODS EAST OF THE AIRPORT.
  • Other evidence indicates additional smaller “alleys” in which tornado activity is high, such as Dixie Alley. Area weight annual averages are useful in identifying such areas but the large scale over which these statistics are calculated leads to still a more subjective or informal alley identification (Dixon)Identifying smaller regions of elevated tornado risk requires detailed a spatial assessment. For example, only two New England states cover an area >10,000 mi2 (MA ~10,000 and ME ~35,000).The 2011 official population estimate 6,526,548,[4] making it the largest metropolitan area in the South.Themetroplex is 8,991 sq mi (23,290 km2) making it larger in area than the U.S. states of Rhode Island and Connecticut combined.
  • There are issues in accepting past tornado reports, and tornado characteristics, as accurate. F-scale is still used for consistency with past data (Dixon).Recent advances in radar technology allows for greater detection of tornadoes, particularly low magnitudes events that were not observed by sight. The occurrence of F0 tornadoes has increased sharply since the 1990’s. Also, historic events reported as tornadoes may have been caused by other similar wind events that generate damage patterns that were difficult to distinguish from tornado damages.
  • The biggest concern using the entire dataset are the missing decades within the RI record.Many tornadoes are listed as “unknown” intensity prior to 1980Another issue is the anomalous increase in tornados from 1961 to 1970. This is due in part to an increase in the reported tornadoes in NH.
  • There were 34 tornadoes reported in NH from 1961-70. This is in sharp contrast to <20 reported in any other decade and the <10 reports per decade for the most recent 30 year (or climate normal period)The period from 1961-1972 totaled 42 reports with a well above average number of reports during the years 1961 1966 1968 1970 (4), 1972 (8), record of 1963 (9). All other years have no more than 3 reports in one year.
  • Typically range in intensity from F0-F3 with lower intensity tornadoes more common the further northPath lengths subject to outliers like the NH Northwood (1.6mi without) and Barrington tornadoes.The 3 lives lost in MA were from the F3 Barrington MA tornado on May 29 1995. Eventually becoming an F3 tornado, it formed within a supercell thunderstorm just east of the Hudson River and traveled from NY, where it crossed the Taconic Range, into MA where cut an 11mi path 500-1000m wide. (Bosart)In the SPC record this tornado is counted as an F4 though recent publications list it as an F3 at its greatest intensity.The one in NH was from the Northwood
  • Reports of tornadoes occurring as early as April exist in 1951-2010 recordThe latest event was in ME on 11/24/2005 with two small tornadoes in neighboring Cummberland and Sagadoc in MEAnother november event was three small tornadoes in Penobsquot and Sommerset CO in interior me on 11/7/71
  • The earliest one was a small, short-live F0 in Carroll Co NH occurring shortly after midnight on 9/29/2006The latest occurred shortly before midnight in Oxford Co ME on 8/13/1999 and on 6/5/2002 in Litchfield Co CTBoth were low intensity and short-lived
  • Highly urbanized counties of Fairfield, Litchfield, New Haven and Hartford have and average of 1-2 tornadoes/100km2 over the period of recordThe total threat of a tornado forming may be determined using climate data … but the potential impact a tornado could have on humans must also be considered when evaluating the total tornado “hazard”
  • Southern New England is part of the densely populated northeast corridor with a nearly continuous urban/suburban landscape stretching from New York City to Boston. Some of the most densely populated urban areas include the Providence-Boston and Worchester-Boston corridors as well as the New York suburbs of eastern CT and the CT river valley. Many of these areas coincide with the areas of highest tornado occurrence.
  • Many of these areas coincide with the areas of highest tornado occurrence.
  • High/low continuum
  • High/low continuum
  • NYC suburbs Fairfield new haven in CTWindham CT through Providence RI into Norfolk MA
  • Highest Tornado scores: Litchfield (25), Berkshire & Worchester (20), Arrostock (18), Oxford (17), New Haven & York (15), Fairfield (12), Cheshire & Providence (11)Highest Population: Suffolk (outlier), Bristol, Middlesex, Norfolk, Providence, Essex, Fairfield, New Haven, Harford, Bristol & KentFairfield hartfordlitchfieldmiddlesex new haven tolland and windham in CTHampshire middlesexnorfolkplymouthworcester MAAndroscogin york MEBelknap hillsboroughrockinghamstrafford NHbristol providence RIChittenden VT
  • "New England Tornado Hazard: Climatology and Risk" by MD Stampone

    1. 1. New England Tornado Hazard Regional Climatology & Risk Mary D. Stampone Department of Geography New Hampshire State Climate Office University of New Hampshire Presentation for the Plymouth State University Environmental Science & Policy Colloquium September 19, 2012
    2. 2. National Tornado Statistics Time-Series Tornado Statistics by US State http://www.spc.noaa.gov/wcm/#data New England states have the fewest average annual tornado occurrence of the lower 48.
    3. 3. National Tornado Statistics Record Tornado New Hampshire July 28, 2008 http://www.erh.noaa.gov/gyx/ Just before noon, a tornado touched down near Deerfield, NH. This tornado cut a 50 mile path over 80 minutes to the Maine border
    4. 4. New England Tornadoes New England Tornado Influences Lewis (2007) Public misconceptions about tornado influences strengthen belief that “tornadoes do not happen here.” Tornado Origins (1981-2010)
    5. 5. New England Tornadoes http://www.erh.noaa.gov/box/ Prior to the 2011 Joplin tornado, the Worchester MA tornado of 1953 was the deadliest US tornado since 1950. Deadliest US Tornadoes: Worchester, MA June 9, 1953
    6. 6. New England Tornadoes http://www.erh.noaa.gov/box/ A supercell thunderstorm produced three tornadoes including an EF3 tornado that traveled 39 miles from Westfield to Charlton, MA. Tornado Outbreak Springfield, MA June 1, 2011 http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/NaturalHazards/view.php?id=50854
    7. 7. National Tornado Statistics http://www.spc.noaa.gov/wcm/#data Area-Weighted Time-Series Tornado Statistics by US State New England states have the fewest average annual tornado occurrence east of the Rockies.
    8. 8. National Tornado Statistics Tornado Data (1951-2011) http://www.spc.noaa.gov/wcm/#data Tornado data for 1951 to 2010 obtained from the Storm Prediction Center “Storm Data” publication for NCDC. Dataset Includes: Location Path Lengths Time Magnitude Injuries/Fatalities Damages
    9. 9. New England Tornado Climatology New England Tornado Climatology (1951-2010) http://www.spc.noaa.gov/wcm/#data A lack of consistency in older tornado reports reduces confidence in the accuracy of the data.0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 1951-60 1961-70 1971-80 1981-90 1991-00 2001-10 TotalTornadoReports Decade CT MA ME NH RI VT * *RI - No reports prior to 1971. *
    10. 10. New England Tornado Climatology New Hampshire Tornado Climatology (1951-2010) http://www.spc.noaa.gov/wcm/#data An unusually high number of tornado reports from 1961 to 1973. 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 1951-60 1961-70 1971-80 1981-90 1991-00 2001-10 TotalNumberofEvents Unknown F0 F1 F2 F3 F4 F5
    11. 11. CT MA ME NH RI VT New England Tornado Climatology New England Tornado Climatology (1981-2010) http://www.spc.noaa.gov/wcm/#data The most recent climate normal period is of reasonable length and consistency for analysis. 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 TotalTornadoReports Decade 1981-90 1991-00 2000-10
    12. 12. New England Tornado Climatology New England Tornado Climatology (1981-2010) http://www.spc.noaa.gov/wcm/#data
    13. 13. New England Tornado Climatology New England Tornado Climatology (1981-2010) http://www.spc.noaa.gov/wcm/#data Tornadoes occur most often during warm season from May through September.0 5 10 15 20 25 TotalTornadoReports CT MA ME NH RI VT
    14. 14. New England Tornado Climatology New England Tornado Climatology (1981-2010) http://www.spc.noaa.gov/wcm/#data Tornadoes occur most often during the afternoon hours and rarely occur over night. 0 5 10 15 20 25 TotalTornadoReports CT MA ME NH RI VT
    15. 15. New England Tornado Climatology New England Tornado Climatology (1981-2010) http://www.spc.noaa.gov/wcm/#data Locations of New England tornado origins. Highest highest tornado density occurs over southeastern CT. Tornadoes per 100 km2 1-2 1 <1
    16. 16. New England Population Distribution Distribution of New England Urban Centers http://2010.census.gov/2010census/data/ Southern New England is part of the densely populated northeast corridor. Image Source: Annemarie Schneider/NASA Landsat Distribution of Urban Surfaces (2010) Providence Boston Worchester Connecticut River Valley
    17. 17. New England Population Distribution Distribution of New England Urban Centers http://www.spc.noaa.gov/wcm/#data Parts of southern New England’s most densely populated urban/suburban landscapes are located within the areas of highest tornado occurrence. Total hazard is a function of event occurrence and potential impact Population Density & Tornado Tracks Population Density
    18. 18. -2 -1.5 -1 -0.5 0 0.5 1 1.5 2 -2 -1.5 -1 -0.5 0 0.5 1 1.5 2 TornadoOccurrence Tornado Impact New England Tornado Hazard Total Tornado Hazard for New England Counties (High/Low Continuum) http://www.spc.noaa.gov/wcm/#data Tornado occurrence calculated as an index accounting for tornado count and intensity (SPC). Impact assessed as the people/property that could be impacted by a tornado (US Census Bureau 2010). Median Median http://2010.census.gov/2010census/data/ High Occurrence/Low Impact High Occurrence/High Impact Low Occurrence/Low Impact Low Occurrence/High Impact
    19. 19. -2 -1.5 -1 -0.5 0 0.5 1 1.5 2 -2 -1.5 -1 -0.5 0 0.5 1 1.5 2 TornadoOccurrence Tornado Impact Total hazard is a function of event occurrence and potential impact New England Tornado Hazard Total Tornado Hazard for New England Counties (High/Low Continuum) http://www.spc.noaa.gov/wcm/#data Median Median 20 Counties (30%) 13 Counties (19%) 13 Counties (19%) 21 Counties (30%) Providence New Haven Fairfield Norfolk Windham http://2010.census.gov/2010census/data/
    20. 20. New England Tornado Hazard Total Tornado Hazard for New England Counties (High/Low Continuum) Densely populated counties of southern New England coincide with the region’s highest tornado occurrence. These areas have the highest hazard relative to the rest of the region. http://www.spc.noaa.gov/wcm/#data http://2010.census.gov/2010census/data/
    21. 21. * * * * ** New England Tornado Hazard Total Tornado Hazard for New England Counties (Product of Occurrence and Impact) http://www.spc.noaa.gov/wcm/#data Tornado probability of occurrence multiplied by the probability of impact humans/infrastructure. Evaluated as a product may overstate the relative hazard. * * * * * * * * * * * *
    22. 22. Next Step: Beyond knowing where tornadoes are most likely to occur and the areas where the impact will be highest, it is important to understand the mechanisms that lead to the formation of tornadoes. Studies indicate areas of enhanced convection and increased storm frequency during the warm season that coincide with areas of highest tornado occurrence (Lombardo & Colle 2010, 2011; Waslua et. al 2002; Murray & Colle 2011).  Prepare database of detailed weather observations (where available) for the time of each tornado.  Compare the weather characteristics during each event to the general atmosphere conditions associated with regional convective and other severe thunderstorm events.
    23. 23. Resources:  Storm Prediction Center (SPC) Storm http://www.spc.noaa.gov/wcm/#data  US Census Bureau (2010) http://2010.census.gov/2010census/data/  Dixon, R.W., A.E. Mercer, J. Choi, and J.S. Allen (2011) Tornado Risk Analysis: Is Dixie Alley and Extension of Tornado Alley? Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 92(4), 433-441  Dixon, R.W. and T.W Moore (2012) Tornado Vulnerability in Texas. Weather, Climate, and Society. 59-67. doi: 10.1175/WCAS-D-11- 00004.1  Lewis, T.R. (2006) The Tornado Hazard In Southern New England: History, Characteristics, Student and Teacher Perceptions. Journal of Geography 105, 258-266.
    24. 24. Questions? New Hampshire State Climate Office The New Hampshire State Climate Office (NHSCO) resides within the Department of Geography at the University of New Hampshire. The NHSCO is officially recognized by the American Association of State Climatologists and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). http://www.unh.edu/stateclimatologist/ Follow on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/nh_sco

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