Miscellaneous musings from ALY

Had an interesting day working with convection in Albany’s CWA today.  Several storms grew big enough to make severe hail, strong winds and show nice organized rotation..also a bow echo looking storm.  In general the 3D Var and MRMS products proved useful for detecting hail concerns and also evaluating whether or not updrafts were strengthening or weakening…how high they were and whether or not there was good updraft helicity/vorticity.  Also the azimuthal shear product from MRMS was useful/interesting.  The nearcast thetha e product had its scale and units reversed since yesterday which caused some initial confusion but did seem to depict the more unstable regions well…though instability was fairly marginal.

Some product limitations we ran into:  With all the new fancy products we had, there really wasn’t anything to aid with max wind gusts.  With the bow echo storm the 3d var fields were barely perturbed and did not at all seem representative of the probable wind speeds (images below show reflectivity and 3d var quad at same time with 1km (lowest available) winds…higher levels didn’t show much either)…old school use of radar velocities worked much better.

Some other products that would really be nice to have would be a 3-d or cross section way to look at updraft and downdraft strength, the horizontal plots of this could be overlayed at 1 km spacing in 3 d-var and was useful to watch through the life cycle of the storms but was very clunky to step through and hard to mentally visualize. In a 3d view this could be a very powerful way for forecasters to monitor and diagnose storm structure.  Another thing we ran into today were training storms and flash flood concerns…dual pol was handy for this among other things but wonder about what applications of the fancy new products there might be to hydro concerns.

AWIPS 2/Warngen/CAVE issues continued again today with warnings that wouldn’t go out, multiple Cave crashes, lots of random error messages and slow downs.  This system is not at all ready for operational use as they slowed/prevented warning issuances and having Cave crash mid warning ops when all the work station is running are 2 Caves not at all confidence inspiring when you think about everything else AWIPS in WFOs runs and does in addition.  Also found an interesting bug with the map background in the quad panels where they don’t always stay linked and you can unpredictably end up with map scales and alignments in different sections of the quads.