Michael Fowle, National Weather Service; James Aanstoos, Department of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences, Iowa State University


This study looked at how the Multiple Elevation Scanning Option for the Supplemental Adaptive Intra-Volume Low-Level Scan (MESO-SAILS) radar scanning regime performed with respect to tornadic debris signature (TDS) detection during the 2016 tornado season in the Iowa Region. Results were compared to TDS distribution research done before the implementation of MESO-SAILS. Overall, it was found that the use of MESO-SAILS led to an upward trend in TDS detection and possibly increased the effective range at which TDS’s could be detected. Other TDS radar variable thresholds stayed relatively the same even with the extra sampling that MESO-SAILS provided. In the Iowa region, when tornado watches were active, MESO-SAILS was active 100% of the time when tornadoes were reported. This reflected National Weather Service expectations for such situations. This number dropped to 41% during severe thunderstorms watches however, which may suggest some benefit in keeping MESO-SAILS active during severe thunderstorm watches as well.

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Cameron J. A. Miller


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