WRF EMS depicts November 8th Supercell

On November 8th, we (WFO Houston/Galveston) began utilizing a new configuration of our WRF-EMS in coordiantion with WFO Mobile and SPoRT.  It was initilaized with the 00Z GFS and 0-24 h GFS as boundary conditions, and run at 12Z with the SPoRT datasets (LIS, GVF, and SST). This was an important model run as we were expecting severe thundertorms during the afternoon hours, and we were eager to see how our new configuration would peform. The first image below shows the actual reflectivity from 17Z on the 8th as an image, with the WRF forecast refelctivity at the same time, contoured in green with the 0, 20, and 40 dBZ contours shown. Note that the character of the convection is well represented, with scattered convection across most of southeast Texas. The second image also shows the WRF forecast reflectivity compared to actual reflectivity, but now 2 hours later (19Z).  Note the almost perfect placement of the day’s first supercell! – just north of Houston in the center of the image. This supercell produced an EF1 tornado about 30 minutes later in Kingwood, TX. I was impressed at how the WRF was able to accurately model the transition from scattered ordinary convection to severe thunderstorms. When I saw the reflectivity forecast, it clued me in to the fact that severe convection could begin early in the afternoon, as opposed to mid/late afternoon. The final image at 20Z is included to show that although most of the convection is well handled by the model, the WRF does over forecast linear convection across western areas of southeast Texas later in the afternoon.

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