WFO Huntsville has been using total lightning information from the North Alabama Lightning Mapping Array since 2003, when it was first incorporated into the AWIPS-1 infrastructure. Since that time, it has been a part of the office culture. However, when WFO HUN began testing the AWIPS-2 software last summer, we lost access to the NALMA data.
That changed recently when we installed the first SPoRT-sponsored AWIPS-2 “plug-in” which allows us to ingest and visualize NALMA data once again. On Monday, it got its first real test as severe weather swept the southeast, and we’re pleased to say that the LMA plug-in passed with flying colors. (In fact, AWIPS-2 in general had its best performance since testing began.) The plug-in performed well and forecasters were excited to have access to the total lightning data once again.
Some examples of the data during the event follow.
Several pockets of significant wind damage were reported, and storm survey crews will be out today surveying possible tornadoes. We did not notice any lightning jumps prior to the most significant damage, but forecasters did make note of a few jumps in other cases.